The CEO of Red Nova Labs, Dan Miller, wrote an interesting blog post entitled, “Why I Hate Reading Books.” Immediately I thought of Ray Bradbury and that haunting line he wrote nearly 60 years ago; “It was a pleasure to burn.” Bradbury, of course, was talking about books.
Now while I can respectively accept Miller’s views on why he so detests the notion of opening a book, I am going to take it upon myself and come up with a few counterarguments to balance out the Red Nova Labs blogosphere.
Miller :: Everybody seems to enjoy reading. People read for entertainment and relaxation, and good for them. If I want entertainment, I’ll go to a movie or a sporting event.
OK, so movies and sports over opening a good book. That’s fair. Difference of opinion on how to spend your leisurely time, but how many movies, ranging from artistic to blockbuster do you think was a piece of literary genius first? Let me name a few: Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, The Bourne trilogy, Field of Dreams, Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Natural, The Godfather, Misery, All Quiet on the Western Front, need I continue? Without books, half the writers in Hollywood wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. Even the Academy Awards has a separate category for “Best Adapted Screenplay.”
As for sports, go on ahead and enjoy the game. After all, I’m a fan of college basketball myself.
Miller :: I don’t like presentations longer than 5 slides or business plans more than 10 pages. If you can’t convey a message in short order you can’t make any money on it because you won’t be able to sell it. Yeh, maybe there are exceptions, but sell those to somebody else.
Dan’s the CEO. Not me. Trust him on this one. Elevator pitch anyone?
Miller :: For me, reading books is like enslaving my mind, holding it against its will to create and develop, forcing it to sit through an eight-hour presentation.
I hope the books people choose to read would do the opposite of enslaving their minds. If you find a book so grotesque in thought, ideology and nature that goes against everything you stand for, put it down. That simple. Books are meant to do the opposite in fact. Books are mediums in which our minds are broadened, nourished, and hopefully encourages the reader to look inside himself to discover new possibilities that he never dreamed of before. Books are meant to educate and inspire, to lift us from our current states of indifference and take us somewhere extraordinary, even if it is for a brief, minute moment that causes us to sees things in a different light.
Companies come and go, especially in this ever-evolving tech industry. But the written word, that is forever.
I’ll leave you with a quote I stumbled upon during a western civilization course took while in college. Descartes aka ‘The Father of Modern Philosophy’ wrote, “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of the past centuries.”
Reading is not so terrible. Never let a book enslave you. Most popular movies were based on books so don’t dismiss the origins of the cinematic adventure you love. If you’re trying to sell something, keep it short and sweet. Never bore your audience. And above all else, we are all entitled to our opinions.
Dan Miller, CEO of many companies, obviously knows his stuff. I’m just agreeing to disagree on the smaller matter of book reading.