Random Books Together
Some great winning combinations that stick out in my mind are when I was reading Charles Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities at the same time I was reading Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life (actually I listened to both of these books, Washington mostly while doing yard work, and Tale of Two Cities while stuck in I-77 traffic). I was pleasantly surprised when I realized these books complimented one another. Both take place around the time of the French Revolution. Although, Tale of Two Cities is fiction, and Washington is a biography on George Washington, each book gave me insight into understanding the other. And because each book was long, I was able to immerse myself in new ideas and apply them to my own experience and understanding of the world.
There is a saying: "thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, and habits become character". Our habits are important. They can define who we are. If Duhig is correct (and The Power of Habit is full of cited research), then we have the opportunity to change our habits, and potentially change our life. We can reprogram ourselves.
Habits save time and energy. My goal in reading The Power of Habit was to develop a healthy and productive routine. Every time you make a decision, you are expending valuable mental energy. I want to put that mental energy towards more important decisions than what I will eat for breakfast.
How does this fit in with "Syntopical Reading" from How to Read a Book? It's like accidental or reverse syntopical reading. If syntopical reading is intentionally reading a variety of books on a particular subject to synthesis new ideas that may or may not be in any of the individual texts, I am doing this unintentionally (and linking books that I never would have initially thought were related to each other).