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Break out the soy sauce, because Samurai Mind Online is lost in translating another Japanese source today!  In this chapter of 1日30分」を続けなさい!人性勝利の勉強法55 Learn to Win by Yukio Furuichi (古市幸雄)  asks the simple question,  what is the best way to read?  

In short, Furichi suggests:

  • Read as soon as you buy a book, while your interest is at a peak
  • Buy/borrow what you are interested in.   One book that interests you is worth 20 that you think are so-so.
  • Don’t be afraid to beat up your books, even if it means taking it to the bath with you.

I love Furuichi’s last suggestion because he suggests that its okay for the covers of a book to be シュワシュワ (shuwa shuwa, or wrinkly) and read rather than in pristine condition and of no use or currency to you.   That being said, I won’t be taking any books to the bath soon.   I’m a busy parent of two little ones and my bath tub is the shallow American kind not the deeper Japanese style bath.

But I am trying to put a little speed factor into my reading.  I’m trying to make sure my books move with a little more velocity than they have in the last decade.   This means that I read faster and reject faster.  If it isn’t interesting too me, I move on.   If it’s interesting or useful to me, I speed up with it.  Going to and using the library helps.  (See, “Why I Don’t (Samurai) Mind Paying Library Fees”)

For me, this involves letting go of the shoulds.   I know I should be reading serious books like Girdle, Etch-a-Sketch, and Bacharach (em, Godel, Escher, Bach) but why not have fun. (Stay tuned for Kenichiro Mogi’s definition and exploration of fun.)   Back in my tweens, I got my Greek mythology in between Mad comics and trashy self-help books.  As I keep reading and having self-help books, I can’t help but thinking that I want to explore deeper ethical systems.   If you can visualize yourself with a Mercedes, why not visualize a world of peace and contribution.  Suggestions?

This doesn’t mean books have to be easy.   Currently I am reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress.  (Yes, I am still learning how to drive this puppy.)   There are a lot of terms and concepts that I don’t quite understand.   But by reading quickly, I am getting the lay of the land.  Furthermore, I am getting it read, especially since it is due in six days.  Another example of Samurai Time on My Side.

I don’t have tons of time to sit on the couch, but my strategy is to leave books all around me.   Sometimes I just quickly read a page in between diaper changes, on the subway, etc.  I would love to hear your thoughts and strategies about reading.  Here’s a short list of some of the books I have around and random notes on them.  There are more on my nightstand but in the interest of space and time I will stop myself.   Please share yours:

In my man-bag:

  • Shigeru Mizuki’s  ボクの一生はゲゲゲの楽園だ:3–this manga by the creator of the famous character Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro is a cartoonified version of Mizuki’s service during World War II.   Great art and story.  I understand about 20%.

In my coat pocket.   When the train is too crowded to reach into my man-bag:

  • Ben Sweetland   自分を生かす「魔法の杖」Japanese translation of Ben Sweetland’s I Can:  The key to Life’s Golden Secrets.   This is a translation of an early (1950’s) Law of Attraction kind of book.  Pure self-help crack, but fun.  I understand 60% of what it is saying.

Books My Year Old Daughter Picks Up From The Shelves and Leaves on the Floor.  I try to honor her choices by reading at least one page before I return it back to the shelf.

  • Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer
  • Booth, Colomb, and Williams.   The Craft 0f Research
  • Bonnie Wade’s Music in Japan
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