I learned to read at age 3 and I have always been not only a very fast reader but a very good scanner of information. I read several books a day until my late 20’s, when work and kids reduced my available time some, and I have always been great at finding what I want in a bookstore, library, or on the Internet, and at very quickly getting the gist of a book and determining whether it was worth reading in full. The Internet has made everyone smarter, and if something exists there I can usually find it.
Today I went into a bookstore that was going out of business. There were a huge number of books (many old and out of print but very interesting) on many subjects available for a couple of dollars, so that the only real constraint on buying them was whether they would be worth the time to read (well, my wife complains about our study not having room for all my books anymore so there’s that too, but that’s secondary). I realized after a few minutes, to my horror, that I no longer even had time to pick up all the interesting-looking books and scan them each for a half a minute to see if they were worthwhile (literally the correct word in this case). I need to depend more on other filters, and other evaluators (which leaves me vulnerable to the prejudices of the day that are shared by people on all sides of various issues).
Google is scanning all the old books in the world that they can and making them searchable and available online (this was useful to me the other day in the discussion of water property rights when I found exactly the right old book, complete, in Google’s database). Faster, please.