Read junk

    All my conscious life I have loved history. Interest in other subjects came and went, but always remained in history. I love documentaries and feature films about history, light books about those times, essays about famous people and events, scientific works, the history of Indian wars, memoirs of great people, books about great people written in our time, etc. , to infinity. My love of history even somehow led me to a history Olympiad, which, for some coincidence, I won by writing an essay-discussion about the first State Duma.

    But I never understood why I love history. Not to say that I was very worried from this misunderstanding, but still this question arose periodically in my head. Each time I came to the conclusion that this is just some kind of innate tendency, like some love for chocolate, communication, adventure or red.

    But now, the other day, while reading the "Sovereign" Niccolo Machiavelli, I understood everything. Including I realized that I understood everything for a long time, and put it on the shelves, only the last brick was missing. Immediately in the memory all the arguments that I formulated for myself throughout my life regarding the history and materials about it surfaced.

    I will not talk about all kinds of materials, only about one thing - books. I’ll try to tell you why reading junk is better and more useful. I do not pretend to the highest truth and the full disclosure of the topic, I simply state my personal considerations.


    I'll start from the reverse side - the shortcomings of modern books. It is the “books” that are now being published a little, because they have been supplanted by the “products”, with all the ensuing consequences.

    You well know what a product is. This is some kind of crap for which the characteristics are determined. Market, segments, audience, lifetime, age limit, functional requirements, packaging, etc. And sausage, and online services, and cowards, and books are created as products, according to the same laws, with differences in the methods of production and marketing.

    The product has a single goal - sales. This goal determines how a product is conceived, born, lives and dies. The same goal defines the criteria for evaluating the quality of a product. Sold - good, not sold - bad.

    When it is already sold, you can talk about other values. A good example (though from a different field) is Christopher Nolan’s films. On the one hand, good - very good - are sold. On the other hand, they receive awards, high marks from critics and viewers.

    Selling a product is like a trigger, after tipping over which you can discuss everything else. Entrance ticket to the world. Accordingly, when reading a modern book, it is necessary to take into account its “productivity”. The author wrote it to sell. Literally shines on every page.


    It is no secret that now all the information, or rather, the content is lined up in streams. With the development of the Internet, it would not have worked differently. There is so much content that it’s impossible to control its elements - only flows, as a certain entity of a higher order.
    Just look at any popular site or service that provides text or video content, and you will see these streams, whatever they are called. Hubs, channels, headings, categories, trends, playlists, groups, ribbons, series, etc.

    Flow control using artificial intelligence or machine learning is increasingly common in order to simplify the search for suitable content to the consumer as much as possible and keep his attention on the resource as long as possible, as attention is converted in time, and time is monetized.

    Streams have long become infinite. As Maxim Dorofeev asked in one of his speeches, did anyone manage to read the Facebook feed to the end?

    I do not want to say at all that flows are some kind of evil, and we must fight them. Of course not. This is an adequate response to the multiply increased amount of content. And then the feedback worked - people got used to flows, it became more convenient, more familiar to them, and content producers also rebuilt. Who made the films, began to create series.

    I talked about streams because they, in my opinion, adversely affect the content.

    For example, articles. In the stream, the life time of an article is several days, usually one. She may grumble in some heading - first “New”, then “In the spotlight” or “Read now”, if she’s lucky - “Best of the week” or something like that, then she’ll flash in the mailing list and attract some more attention . On some resources, sometimes, an old article may accidentally pop up, but this rarely happens.

    And imagine an author of an article who knows that his brainchild will live for several days. How much will he be ready to invest in this brainchild? And how many articles will he write before he begins to call the brainchild a product?

    At first, of course, he will try. I often met the comments of novice authors about how they wrote their article for a week, or even a month, read and edited it, collected practical material, searched for suitable media materials, etc. And then they faced a harsh reality - they gave their offspring just a minute to stand on the stage, after which they drove away. Several people followed, asked to do something else, but after standing and listening for a while, they still returned to the auditorium, where the stream was shown.

    Most novice authors quit this business, thinking that something is wrong with them, or their articles. They take offense at unfriendly venues, reproach themselves for their lack of talent, and promise to swear never to write anything else.

    Although, it is enough for them to understand that their article fell into the stream, and there are no other rules there. You can’t be in the spotlight for even a week, even for reasons of honesty - there is only one scene, but those who wish to stand on it are darkness.

    Those who understand the essence of the work of flows, and the mechanisms for managing them at a particular site, can become a regular contributor. Only articles will now become products, or at least content. Quality requirements will have to be reduced for purely economic reasons. Well, there really is no objective sense in spending a week on an article and earning as much as that guy who spent 2 hours (earning - it doesn’t matter what, at least likes, at least subscribers, at least readings, at least rubles).

    Dreams about how the article will become a cult article, or the most quoted one, or someone will print it out and hang it on the wall, or even solemnly bring it into the hall of fame of some library, quickly pass. All articles that have passed the stream are sent to almost nowhere. They will be remembered by search engines and several people who have bookmarked to reread later (not a fact, of course, that they will re-read).

    Book streams

    Back to the books. They also lined up in streams living according to their own laws. Especially now, when electronic books and services for their independent creation, distribution and promotion have become widespread. The entry threshold has disappeared - anyone can create a book now, it will be assigned an ISBN, and all decent sites will start selling it.

    Books are already very close to the rest of the content, and are being rebuilt under the new rules. Unfortunately, quality invariably suffers - for the same reasons as the articles.

    In the stream, the book will not live long, it is a reality. Even if it comes out on paper, it’s only in quantity to satisfy the demand created by the author and the marketers. Then the stream will take away the book of nothingness.

    All this means that the author does not make sense to try when writing a book. Neither artistic value, nor bright humor, nor a terrific plot will save. Now these are not the characteristics of the literary work, but the functional requirements for the product, affecting market share, lifetime, NPV and SSGR.

    For us readers, lining up books in streams does nothing good, alas. Firstly, a decline in quality will make us waste time reading in vain. Secondly, the multiple intensification of book streams greatly complicates the search for at least something useful - especially given that there are no texts of books on the Internet, and search engines cannot adequately answer whether a book is suitable for us or not. Probably, there will soon appear systems of intellectual selection of books for the interests of the reader.

    With the quality of books, the story is already funny coming out. Take, for example, any book of the MYTH publishing house and open on the last pages - you will find blank sheets entitled “New Ideas”. And there is a technique of one of the creators of this publishing house, thanks to which these sheets appeared in books. In short, the quality of the book is estimated by the number of new ideas that arose during its reading.

    I will not discuss the methodology itself, the fact of its appearance is interesting - this, again, is an adequate reaction to building books in streams. Here, quality is evaluated, and some kind of ranking is performed. Although, personally, I, perhaps, would not evaluate books by the number of new ideas, despite my love of numbers and dimensions. Just because ideas are the fruit of a person’s mental activity, and their occurrence or lack of reading may not correlate with the book. Someone after “Dunno” will write down two sheets, but someone the great Soviet encyclopedia will not wean eat boogers.

    So, I think, books by modern authors have ceased to be books. They became content and product. Similarly, songs ceased to be songs, but somehow quietly became tracks. Even seasoned rockers, like Andrei Knyazev, now call the results of their work tracks.

    I suppose that publishing houses will soon disappear as a business - there will be no need for them. There will be authors, proofreaders, editors, services for the sale of electronic books, with the function of printing on demand, well, and book printers. I found a book, bought an electronic one for 100 rubles, read it, liked it, ordered a paper one, deducted 100 rubles from the total cost. Maybe even the layout of the book of your choice will appear - you have pushed articles into the basket into the selected topic, the service has written them in the book, made a table of contents, put your photo on the cover and in print.

    My attitude to threads

    As I wrote above, the flows themselves, as a phenomenon, I do not blame. It is a part of reality that has arisen in response to changes in another part of reality. A new format for the provision of information has emerged, which, in turn, has spawned rules and practices for managing flows, monetization, attracting consumers and authors. But personally, I try to avoid threads.

    It is, in general, about all the flows of information. I objectively understand that a lot of useful and interesting information is hidden in them, but I do not want to spend a lot of time searching for it, analyzing it, applying it in practice and formulating conclusions - this is impractical and not effective.

    But the main problem is not in efficiency, but in the unpleasant feeling that you are a cow on a farm, or a squirrel in a wheel.

    The first 16 years of my life I spent in a small village. There were few books at home, but a library worked in the village. I still remember with pleasure how I came there and chose what to read to me. This process - of choice - could go on for hours. Fortunately, there are not many lovers to read in the village - people love to drink more and more, so the choice of books was in complete silence.

    The librarian helped a lot. Firstly, she was a very smart and well-read girl - she graduated from school with a gold medal, then she graduated with honors from the Institute of Culture, but somehow brought her to our collective farm. Secondly, she once went to school with my older brother, and a good attitude towards him was projected on me - she helped, suggested, did not swear when she didn’t give books for a long time.

    So, the choice of the book, i.e. information for study, I liked no less than the process of subsequent reading. Neither books, nor shelves, nor the entire library, nor its owner needed anything from me. The work of the library was not monetized in any way - everything was free. No one drew anyone there with marketing gimmicks.

    You come to choose - and you feel like a master. Not books or libraries, but situations, conditions, freedom of choice. He came himself because he decided to come himself. You will leave when you want. Nobody shoves you anything. The authors of most books have long died. The librarian is frankly indifferent whether you take ten books or not one. Sheer pleasure.

    What about the flow? The owner of the resource from you needs, in fact one thing - activity. Any kind.
    Write articles, read articles, comment on articles, comment on comments, rate articles, comments, authors, commentators, repost, read to the end, be sure to subscribe so that you can come back and be active on a signal.

    The feeling that money is being mined on you. Just went in the door - bang, and some equipment was imperceptibly hung on you, and the owner began to earn money on you. You sit down in the corner - money doesn’t go much, and they bother you, they invite you — let's go, dance, or sing karaoke, or we’ll clean someone’s face! The main thing is to be active!

    Вроде, формально, я пришел сам. Кажется, что-то читаю и нахожу для себя полезное. Иногда случается с интересными людьми поговорить. Редко, но даже новые приятные знакомства появляются, или даже деловые контакты. Но неприятное чувство остается – майнят ведь, засранцы.

    Привели меня, как животное, посадили в колесо, показали приманку – типа «читай-читай, тут где-то точно есть полезная и очень ценная информация!» — и отошли в сторону, следующего счастливчика подключать. А я бегу, пока не остановит какое-нибудь физическое препятствие, вроде окончания рабочего дня, дедлайна или непреодолимого уже желания спать.

    Flows suck in, regardless of the degree of awareness. That is, of course, different resources - with different strengths, but from my own experience I have defined it this way: there is always a stream that will overpower you. They are too strong - this is not some kind of metaphysics, but the result of the work of a huge number of very intelligent people. Well, the very ones who come up with algorithms for selecting interesting content, write articles, shoot videos and series, etc.

    Actually, that's why I avoid streams. I know for sure that if I relax, dive, I’ll be stuck for several hours, despite all my conclusions and conclusions. Therefore, my Facebook feed is empty, with one and a half thousand friends:

    I do not impose anything on anyone, of course.

    So, something was blabbering, but he never turned to old books. Next time then - I’ll write the second part, otherwise it will turn out too long.

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