7. Read It Twice
I’d like to finish by returning to an idea I mentioned near the beginning of this article: read the great books twice.
Ideas need to be repeated to be remembered. The writer David Cain says, “When we only learn something once, we don’t really learn it—at least not well enough for it to change us much. It may inspire momentarily, but then becomes quickly overrun by the decades of habits and conditioning that preceded it.”
Additionally, revisiting great books is helpful because the problems you deal with change over time. Sure, when you read a book twice maybe you’ll catch some stuff you missed the first time around, but it’s more likely that new passages and ideas will be relevant to you. It’s only natural for different sentences to leap out at you depending on the point you are at in life.
You read the same book, but you never see it the same way. As Charles Chu once wrote, “I always return home to the same few authors. And, no matter how many times I return, I always find they have something new to say.”