Access to Information

I’ve been sitting here some nights ranting and raving about acquiring as much knowledge as possible and I missed the obvious. They have an award they deliver to the smartest people on earth in various fields. The author of the behavioral economics book I just finished was one of these people and when he mentioned his Nobel Prize it made me realize something very simple. That list is available and through the library or Amazon or e-reader all the books written by every Nobel Prize winner is available.

If my quest in reading were to gain as much knowledge as possible that would be the place to start and it wouldn’t take that long. It certainly wouldn’t take a lifetime. Especially considering how one could work backwards and knock anything off the list that has been refuted by anyone that came later.

The thing is I don’t read to acquire as much knowledge as possible. I read to acquire as much enjoyment as possible. Knowledge is one thing that gives me joy but it isn’t the only thing. There is being surprised as a mystery unravels and cheering on characters as they fall in love or win other accomplishments. Reading isn’t a quest and I’m not trying to gain anything from it. It is simply a way to pass the time.

With that being said and my mention of Amazon above I would like to say I’m not a fan of the company and what it has done to small businesses in America. I am a small business owner and one day Amazon or Wal-mart will come for me. Will they do away with me? Will I end up working for them? I can’t say. But with all the damage Amazon has done to the United States it has done good.

The good of Amazon is in its origins, books. I used to avoid series like the plague. I could never find the first book in a series and if I ever did then I was never guaranteed to find the second or whatever next one I needed when I returned to the bookstore. Amazon has made that much easier. Search a book and they have it. If is it rare or out of print then it is likely that someone is selling it through Amazon. Amazon has increased our access to information to previously unimagined levels.

I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t find a book and when it does happen I am deeply shocked. The marvel of wanting something, searching for it, finding it in seconds, ordering it, and having it in two days time is insane when you think back to what the world was like before. I remember asking bookstore clerks if they had a book, them looking it up and saying the closest store that had it was 400 miles away and they could order it if I wanted, my wanting them to order it, them telling me it would be 6 to 12 weeks, my forgetting I ordered it, getting a phone call telling me my book was in, driving to the store to pick it up, and finding out they ordered the wrong book.

Somethings are better now but I still miss Walden’s, B. Dalton’s, Crown, and Borders.

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