The Myth of Books

The Myth of Books

The Myth of Books

 If you want to find out about a person, walk into his or her home and look for their books. The quantity, subject matter, condition and age of the books can probably give a background on the history of the person, as well as their education, interests, age and maturity.

For people over forty, books have played an important role in our lives. They have been studied, carried, moved, and sometimes even read. The primary function of a book has been to share knowledge and/or emotion. Books have been the main source of knowledge that transcended generations. We have come to trust books as the best source of information. We knew that editors vetted the information, so that it wasn’t just the author’s opinions. If a book said it, then it was a fact.

Then we learned that textbooks had false information in them. Encyclopedias had errors. Editors could be biased. New information made old information obsolete. Books were not always the best source of information.

Enter the Internet. People had a new voice. Anyone could talk. There were no editors to choose what the public would know. Misinformation could be just as compelling as facts. And among all the noise were new ideas, new discoveries, exposed lies, and information that might be hours old, which contradicted information published  in a book. The world moved past books because they were too slow.

People over forty face a dilemma. Do we continue to worship books as the ultimate source of information and fact, or do they see the myth that we have outgrown. Information in our world is now chaotic, overwhelming, and constantly changing. We have to be our own editor and do our own research, but we also have access to new knowledge that comes from a better source.

A reference page that only cites book sources is probably offering some out-of-date information. Is that how we want the next generation to do research, or do we accept that books only offer a reference in history, not current fact.

One comment on “The Myth of Books

  1. There is something to be said for static information – ever had the experience of looking for a particular citation or quote on the internet, only to discover it was no longer there? Books don’t betray you that way.

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