Why Books Are Terrible: A Summary
How I wrote bad summaries of bad books and failed to make a living.
Ten out of ten book readers agree books are good according to a statistic I totally read in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, or possibly in some other good and virtuous pro-book book . Books! They teach you to be a citizen; they teach you to be sophisticated; they teach you to be moral. They teach you to be cultured and shit. Social media makes you cramped and cruel; the internet gives you the attention span of a goldfish if you put the goldfish bowl in front of twitter for some reason, glug. Video games make you violent and then you shoot the goldfish and there are goldfish guts on your attention span. Television is a vast wasteland, yes, even the Sopranos. Even The Wire. Even the Kardashians. But books are the real thing, the Smart Art, the healthy vegetables of information transmission. You can't go wrong with books.
Or so the books tell us. But I have read books, and I am here to tell you it isn't all Moby Dick and Piketty's Capital. For a year or two back around 2016, I worked as a writer for a couple of book summary companies. My job was to write 2500-3000 word condensations of the best-selling books of the day. And having done so, I can say with some confidence that what Americans read to improve themselves is not necessarily better than watching television, or playing video games, or scooping your brain out with a melon baller.
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