很多人说,要成为优秀的作者,你需要先做贪婪的读者。我的感受是这两者是齐头并进的,写作也会对阅读产生启发。

在对一个问题进行探索时,作者会选择特定的角度。但信息的选择意味着信息的缺失。即使作者知道其他视角,把所有都写下来也不现实,因为会影响可读性。(或许这是为什么没人喜欢读法律条款。)

这些视角来自作者的偏好、目的,也来自预期受众。很多人吐槽《Why We Sleep》科学漏洞百出,但不表示这本书就不好。它面向大众读者,而不是领域科学家。有用和准确是两回事,至少它对我来说就很有帮助。1

除了主动选择的视角,作者都有自己的偏见。

所以了解多个观点,往往要比只了解一个全面。尽可能阅读不同背景的作者写的答案,而不是重复相似背景的作者写的答案。

道理谁都懂,但我好奇有多少人真正做到。拿知乎来说,有多少人会对比十个不同的回答,选出最有道理的?有多少人点赞同是因为答案说得对,而不仅是因为说得好?

不过知乎也不是一个好的学习渠道。优秀的作者很少通过搜索找答案。David Epstein 鼓励我们去图书馆和书店,「从你所在的算法中走出来」。Malcolm Gladwell 也说,你不会通过搜索引擎找到有意思的东西,「它把你带到一个死胡同」。Neil deGrasse Tyson 认为,搜素引擎是确认偏误的一个典型体现。2

Malcolm Gladwell 还发现人们不会以思考一本书的方式来谈论它,所以他会有意在书中穿插供人谈论的段子。书中的核心,就像一道主菜,供读者在家静静享用,而有趣的段子如零食,供大家分享。

对于学习,书籍如主菜,播客和视频更像是零食。当被问到写视频脚本和写书的区别时,YouTuber Ali Abdaal 回答,对于视频「你更容易糊弄过去」,你更容易通过视听手段制造逻辑上的跳跃。

学习是一件费脑的事情,不然很可能就学不好。边看美剧边想学英语不但英语没进步,美剧也看得不痛快。3

具体怎么做?James Clear 分享过一条建议

用书籍更新思维,安静的时候思考策略,通过与成功同伴的对话来学习技巧。

不过,即使读书,也要警惕优秀的作者。

越是优秀的作者,越容易让你相信他们说的话。

但会写不表示他们就是对的。如果你阅读的目的是接近现实,你需要不断质疑。


  1. 前段时间 The Knowledge Project 播客采访了《Why We Sleep》的作者 Matthew Walker。有些听众表示不满,主理人 Shane Parrish 这样回答:“When I think about guests and our body of work, our goal is high signal and low noise. Not every episode will hit that but that’s the target. In an attempt to make this happen, I ask myself one question:“Is this useful?” Take Matthew Walker. Is his work 100% accurate? No. Is it useful? Based on the feedback I’ve gotten. Yes. Useful and accurate are different things.” (From its Learning Community Forum↩︎

  2. Neil Tyson 的原话是 “The internet is the epitome of confirmation bias – and you’re going to use that to tell if you are right! Oh no…” 他还说,“Internet search engines have a way of affirming your hypothesis, no matter what you have hypothesized.” ↩︎

  3. 关于学习需要刻意练习、需要努力,Sönke Ahrens 在《How To Take Smart Notes》里写道:“Learning itself requires deliberate practice, and I mean actual learning that helps us to increase our understanding of the world, not just the learning that makes us pass a test. And deliberate practice is demanding; it requires effort. Trying to skip this step would be like going to the gym and trying to work out with the least effort possible. That just doesn’t make sense, just like it wouldn’t make sense to hire a coach to do the heavy lifting. A coach is not there to do the work, but to show us how to use our time and effort in the most effective way. What is self-evident in sports we are only starting to realize is true for learning as well. “The one who does the work does the learning,” writes Doyle (2008, 63). It is hard to believe, but in education that is still a revolutionary idea.” ↩︎