📑 You Are What You Read, Even If You Don’t Always Remember It

Bookmarked You Are What You Read, Even If You Don’t Always Remember It (blog.jim-nielsen.com)

I cannot remember the blog posts I’ve read any more than the meals I’ve eaten; even so, they’ve made me.

It’s a good reminder to be mindful of my content diet — you are what you eat read, even if you don’t always remember it.

Source: You Are What You Read, Even If You Don’t Always Remember It by Jim Nielsen


In a short post, Jim Nielsen reflects upon the purpose of reading, that being to expand your thinking. This thinking was in part inspired by Dave Rupert’s discussion of ideas over facts and how we check these.

The goal of a book isn’t to get to the last page, it’s to expand your thinking.

Source: How do you verify that? by Dave Rupert

This reminds me of something Amy Burvall once suggested:

“in order to connect dots, one must first have the dots”

Source: #rawthought: On Ditching the (Dangerous) Dichotomy Between Content Knowledge and Creativity by Amy Burvall)

The challenge that both Nielsen and Rupert touch on is that we are not always conscious or critical of the ideas (or dots) as we consume them, even so they make us who we are:

I cannot remember the blog posts I’ve read any more than the meals I’ve eaten; even so, they’ve made me.

It’s a good reminder to be mindful of my content diet — you are what you eat read, even if you don’t always remember it.

Source: You Are What You Read, Even If You Don’t Always Remember It by Jim Nielsen

This is based on a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.

For me, the notion of unconscious ideas harks back to something J. Hillis Miller once said about the ethics of reading:

As we read we compose, without thinking about it, a kind of running commentary or marginal jotting that adds more words to the words on the page. There is always already writing as the accompaniment to reading.

Source: ‘The Obligation to Write’ by J. Hillis Miller

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