Books, with some effort, can help you learn to walk, but only people can help you orient where to walk. In other (equally vague yet obvious) words, I can’t know (through books), if I don’t know what to know (through people)

See also: taste

I used to think that to be a productive member of society, one just had to put their head down and try to churn out as much output as possible. I very much subscribed to the belief that if I just kept constantly producing new things, I would eventually learn from my mistakes and improve rapidly. I found that while, yes, this approach allowed me to build my technical skills really quickly, I applied it to everything — even things that didn’t need it. I held a metaphorical hammer in my hands and everything seemed like a nail.

Over the summer, I began to read again. I started with technical write-ups, fiction novels, traversed into self-help, and to memoirs. I started to read more about the state of the world and critically discuss these with family and friends. Reading helped me colour in the lines as to why we need to build in the first place. I realized that the problems we try so hard to solve with technology are not tech problems, but human ones.

I’ve started to write more about these ideas, at first to help me organize my own thoughts, but eventually segued into an excuse for me to talk to people about interesting ideas and get their perspective. It’s started a sort of chain reaction in a sense, with an observation from a book leading to a conversation with a friend to a blog post ad infinitum — leading me to be a more informed and curious individual.