Even though building up a great library is an important part of my process, getting out of the office is just as important. There’s little better in my mind than getting out to some other space where you can’t do laundry, pay your bills, or even get distracted by some book you were reading. Out in a coffeehouse or cafe, you can sit, read, and write, disappearing into that state of “flow” you get from engagement with your own process.
But it’s just as important to expose yourself to new, unchosen information – not your news feed or blogroll, but a set of information spread out across all possible topics, like reading a great encyclopedia, visiting a library … or browsing a bookstore. While a bookstore’s topics are limited, and even the nicest ones are trying to sell you things, they’re not just trying to sell them to you: they’re trying to create an information space, one of a completely different kind than I talked about when discussing my library.
In a bookstore or library, it’s possible to get lost in chains of thought that you never would have otherwise had, because you’re prompted by information that you never would have chosen to see, if it all came from your feed or your previous collection of chosen books and media.
Get out sometime, and lose yourself in a good bookstore. If you can walk there from where you are, so much the better; then you can combine the experience of life with the expansion of your mind.
Pictured: Moe’s Bookstore in Berkeley. Does … that seem right to you, or am I still woozy from food poisoning? 😀