Read the Best 100 Books Over and Over Again

This post is by naval from Naval

Many claim to read, but very few understand

Naval: The Beginning of Infinity reminds me the most of Gödel, Escher, Bach in that it is very wide-ranging and stitches together ideas from many different disciplines. It’s very difficult to understand and follow completely. Everyone claims to have read it, but, as far as I can tell, very few people understand it.

I had this experience in college when I first found Hofstadter’s work. I remember that I put it on my bookshelf and I started reading it, and I started reading it, and I started reading it. About a year later, I was probably halfway through it. Then I just ran out of time. I had other things going on.

I remember that I would approach my other friends in college and would say, “This is a great book, you should read it.” And a week later they’d roll back and say, “Yeah, I read Gödel, Escher, Bach. It was great.” And I felt like the stupidest person in college.

It was only years later that I realized nobody had read it. When you get older, you get more confident in those confessionals, where you either say, “I didn’t read it” or “I read it at a constant pace and when I encountered something I didn’t understand, I kept going.”

I confess, to this day I have not read all of Gödel, Escher, Bach. But at least at this point, I’ve gone through and found the parts that were most (Read more...)