Unlikeable Reading

I’m reading “Tribes, We need you to lead us,” by Seth Godin. And I’m impressed with the way he’s written his text. It’s easy to read, full of matter, and so much inspiration.

And yet, there’s no excitement. At least not for me.

I’m surprised I didn’t realise this sooner, but every book I read for pleasure has a unique style and writing sense. And every book I read for knowledge lacks that element in every syllable.

Seth Godin’s book is great. I breezed through page after page without ever having to stop for a moment to appreciate the beatuty of his weaving — because there was none. His book is worth quoting, sure, but only for what he says; not for how he says it.

Then I understood why text books never get the appreciation they deserve. Who’d read a book that’s full of facts void of facets? But every school teacher insists on reading those textbooks, and likewise, every manager insists on reading “how-to-best-do” books.
The former will help get more marks and the latter, more strategies, and therefore, more money.

And yet neither of these make us skip a heartbeat, keeping us in mild excitement throughout the length of the book. These are more like medicines; a necessary evil. They communicate, but they don’t make us appreciate the art of communication. They convince because the name on the cover is already an established authority. No one questions it, no one contradicts it.

A lot of people I know who don’t like reading say so because they’ve never read anything apart from their school textbooks. No wonder they hate reading. If I had to read only titles that read “Ways to leverage your writing potential,” but have zero writing potential in them, I’d hate reading too.

But when reading for pleasure, everyone contradicts the author. Every reader, novice or expert, has an opinion to cast at the story. And that’s why writers adopt the more proven way of persuading readers. They makes us fall in love with what they have to say. Every sentence, every word choice is so deliberate that it sparks a myriad of emotions in us.

This brings me back to textbooks. If knowledge-intensive, preach-oriented books are interesting enough, perhaps more of us would enjoy reading. Perhaps then, we’d be happy to learn from what we read.

What do you think? Have you read instruction pieces with enjoyable narratives?


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