You must focus your reading time

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My default reading strategy is to peruse multiple online news aggregators, blogs and social media sites. I’m going to change that after reading what Seneca says. He was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman and dramatist. He is known for his letters of instruction to Lucilius, procurator of Sicily.

In the second letter“On Discursiveness in Reading,” he urges Lucilius to focus his reading.

Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master-thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere.

When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner.

Accordingly, since you cannot read all the books which you may possess, it is enough to possess only as many books as you can read. So you should always read standard authors; and when you crave a change, fall back upon those whom you read before.

And then this instruction:

Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes as well; and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day.

Pause to select one thing to carry through the day.

~ Elfdalian

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