The Fully Digital Library — Cultivating Your Goes Anywhere Personal Learning Network
My friend Daniel recently wrote a newsletter article entitled Personal Libraries on why he maintains a large personal library of physical books. His article was perfect timing for something I’ve been moving towards for a long time which is moving to a nearly fully digital library. I agree with Daniel’s points and I intend to extend them here to show the benefits of what I’m gathering from moving to a fully digital library.
What I’ve Learned in a Half Year of a Book Buying Break
For many years, my definition of a “rich life” — a concept from financial educator Ramit Sethi — is that I could buy any book I want at any time.
However, I am also a hoarder who is striving to become minimalist. My attachment to physical things is costly to me and to the environment. The physical things also represent space in my brain — unread books, unfinished projects, guilt for not being the right size to fit into clothes in my closet… I may not be able to immediately fit into my clothes, but I can stop buying books I have no plan to read.
So, at the beginning of 2023, I decided to take a Book Buying Break. I borrowed this wording from cultivatedreads on Instagram. My rules for this were simple. I would only purchase a book if I actually had a plan for reading it AND a deadline that couldn’t be accommodated by getting it from the library.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I grow professionally and personally. I want to get more out of the books I read — both those that I simply lose myself in for the pleasure of reading and those I try to read and use as action learning projects. This means I need to read the book AND do something with it — whether that’s writing a review, discussing or sharing it, or synthesizing what I learned from the book into action. The conclusion I’ve come to is that I get more out of a book when I can engage with my notes easily. And, for me, that requires a link between my book and Readwise (affiliate link but does give you an extended trial longer than the standard Readwise trial).