Wisdom and Instruction
All books are not created equal. In his essay, "On Studies", Sir Francis Bacon wrote:
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
If you want to get the most out of your reading, you need to learn how to quickly cut through the fluff of a book (or any form of media), and find the author's main point and supporting arguments. Once you are confident that you know what the book is about, you can decide if you want to continue reading it. Learning how to quickly size up a book (but not necessarily judging it by its cover), prevents the frustration of getting half way through and realizing the book is not what you thought.
It is all about opportunity cost. Is the information in this book more valuable than other ways I could be spending my time (and other books I could be reading)? Most books that have been written are not worth reading (romance novels...). Some books require the "eat the meat, pick out the bones" mentality. That is, take the good stuff and disregard the stuff that is not useful. On a rare and fortunate occasion, you find a book that is worth reading "wholly, and with diligence and attention". You feel like the book might as well be made of gold. That is a book worth reading again and again.
Have you read any books that are all gold? Please share them with us in the comments section.