Reading Culture: Books are good, but we equally need free thinking


We need to be careful so books do not become our only means of garnering knowledge when we are imbued with the actual ability to think

Learning is a viciously subtle cycle of facts restatement. 

Asides learning towards skill acquisition, knowledge gathering for everyday lives and mind-sharpening — which means self- help, inspirational or life-hacking books have become walking clichés, somewhat. The human mind seeks knowledge that comes in different forms to different people.


Even Iya Fasila, the gossip at Alade market seeks some form of knowledge through the titbits she so religiously gathers. It will aid her in conversation with her peers. That’s her reality. She’s a version of Tony, a writer who seeks to unravel the depths of a Napoleon Hill book.

Realities define knowledge we seek. It’s all in a bid to either pass time, or show superiority in conversation. In consequence, learning is relatively a product of ego.

Reading is by no means overrated

Reading sharpens the mind. As a person, whenever I read — especially something I enjoy — my mind becomes sharper, I get more concise and philosophical. I come up with better analogies and paint better scenarios with words.

It’s the very bedrock means of knowledge transfer from one generation to another. Intellectual humanity has in some ways however seemingly enslaved itself to reading as the major means of grasping knowledge. Even though it’s a viable means, a book is someone’s opinion, built on another’s opinion.

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This isn’t a rebellious or woke piece, it’s an evaluation

The greatest thing a book could ever reflects are accepted facts of usage; the norms we define our lives by — things we’ve come to accept as right. This isn’t a rebellious or woke piece, it’s an evaluation.

As I laid reading Napoleon Hill’s Golden Rules, I realized a lot of ideas in the book are plain regurgitation of insipid facts peculiar to humanity, an average human being could arrive at with deep evaluation of himself.


The difference in what the book achieves and what an average mind could achieve is logic and beauty of expression to aid understanding and simplify complex concepts. This is neither a critique of the book, the art of reading nor a statement that reading is overrated. It is an evaluation of a constantly overlooked facet to humanity.

Usually, people state the words, ‘Help yourself, read good books.’ in different ways, but the more I read certain books, I feel the need to filter their contents and select the things that will suit me upon deep evaluation. Is this a product of my vanity and ego propelling me to think I know everything? Even though it might be, I don’t think it is.

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Similar books are the same, they only differ by style

When you read a lot of self-help, inspirational evaluative or life-hack books, you could easily break each one you’ve read down into a select number groups, based on the message they preach and field they belong to, with the only difference to books in any group being mode of expression, delivery and analogies used in those deliveries.

It’s not even about the similarities in content anymore. It’s about how a lot of these books keep preaching easily discernible facts. Things you can come up with on your own as I started earlier. The only thing these books succeed in doing is create a bunch of subjective thinkers into the world as people seem to only subconsciously judge books on delivery rather than content.

The more attractive a delivery, the bigger the chance of a reader accepting its content as the truth. Thus, most people you speak to likely rate books and accept their content based on the brilliance of delivery without even realizing.

This robs the world of change and new ideas — you can fight by forming your own thought while you read

The major downside to this is, it likely robs the world of valued, objective thinkers as we retain a cycle of similar ideas and ideals. I’m not asking you to be woke or that you should be egotistical and claim you know more than your favourite writer. I’m saying you should do more of self-evaluation and thought process, to achieve at your own ideals and concepts.

Books are just ideas from another person

You’re imbued with sufficient thought faculty to form your own excellent ideas that you don’t need books to arrive at certain truths. The problem is people continually quote one book or the other, and with that comes the imperfection of books as just ideas of another person.


The holes in whatever narrative people paint, you can find vivid issues with. I also constantly see smart people quote theories from books. Sometimes, we can generate these theories on our own.

We might need to measure the knowledge we consume

Yes, as human beings we will mostly subscribe to narratives that suit their biases, but subscribing to a bias is very different to allowing theories from a book hold become everything we live by. Nothing is absolute or perfect; everything has faults. It then becomes imperative to note that books can then, not be absolute or perfect.

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Does that mean we shouldn’t swallow this piece without question? I think so, yes. Except it suits the ideas you want to live by and helps you become better at it.

Free thought and enhancement of your natural thought faculty might be what we need. These books were written by human beings like us. Their ideas are brought on by their sentiments. While their thoughts are just more cohesive and better laid out, everything they’ve done, we can do — if we can think and communicate.

The downsides to free, independent thinking

Of course, there’s a downside to free thinking as well; human beings are by nature sentimental and passionate. It could lead to unrealistic standards and ideas, which could collide with more unrealistic and fundamentally wrong ideals.


To the foregoing however, there’s the fact that every human being has an ability to filter rights from wrongs, even though there’s always the possibility of our excesses inspiring questionable actions and theories.

Any human being trying to form more is to understand there are lines of rights and wrongs, and they must not be flattered with, because they’re the true tests of whatever ideal we choose to live by.

People should still read


Does Pulse say to stop reading books? No. The world might just need more objective and open minded people is all. Only a few things sharpen the mind than knowledge-gathering; and major sources of knowledge-gathering are reading and researching.

We just need people to use reading as tools of deep introspection and filter the relevant parts of any text. A lot of things in these books are things any human being can come up with.

To authors

Try come up with more pristine content in 2018. The book doesn’t have to be big, complex or abstract, it just needs to pass a pristine message, heavy on evaluation and new ideas. Enough on “how to…” and “Learn how to…,” there are better content suited for books across the world.

In 2018, keep reading, but don’t forget to filter and evaluate. Most importantly, engage in freedom of thought.

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