Learning via osmosis

Sometimes, I read something even if I’m not interested in the subject. It could be a way to pass the time. Or I have to read it due to work. Or I like the author, because I liked what he wrote before.

So I was wondering, do people often read something even if they’re not interested in the subject? I began examining myself for the motivation behind my readings. And I found that I read to learn other things.

The primary reason I have is, if I only read what I’m familiar with, I’ll stagnate. So I read about other topics. I may not actively seek to read about, say spelunking or the collection of coins. But I will read about other topics in passing whenever they come into my attention. There are secondary benefits to this uncoordinated reading. I read to learn the sentence structure, the “voice” of the author, the presentation of ideas.

There is this article on program run time and big-O notation by Raymond Chen. Frankly speaking, I had no idea what he’s talking about the first time I read it. And it’s fairly long. And I still finished reading it. And I still have no, ok fine, marginal understanding of what he’s saying.

Some of the terms made sense. Big-O notation, hashtables, and ternary trees (wow I thought there are only binary trees!). I can’t quite wrap my head around the subject though. I still read it. I guess the secret wish was I’d slowly and eventually learn whatever he’s talking about via osmosis.

You know, knowledge and understanding flowing from a low concentration of stupidity to a higher concentration of stupidity.

This went for another article I read by Scott Adams on investing. I read it to learn about investing from another view point. And because I had nothing to do then, and I read his blog anyway and the article came into my feed reader…

Basically he presented the idea of cutting out the financial professionals managing your investment portfolio. I have little idea and opinions on the subject, so I’ll leave you to interpret however you want.

Maybe this random sampling of subjects is my default mode