Book Title: Smarter Than You Think / How technology is changing our minds for better
Written by: Clive Thompson
Chapter Title: Public Thinking
Book summary and further information: Smarter than you think
I calculate that we’re composing at least 3.6 trillion words daily, or the equivalent of 36 million books every day.
The entire U.S. Library of Congress, by comparison, holds around about 35 million books.
The science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon famously said something like, “Ninty percent of everything is crap,” a formulation that geeks now refer to as Sturgeon’s Law.
Literacy in North America has historically been focused on reading, not writing; consumption, not production… While many parents worked hard to ensure their children were regular readers, they rarely pushed them to become regular writers… The advent of digital communications, Brandt argues, has upended that notion.
This writing changes our cognitive behavior. It can help clarify our thinking.
Professional writers have long described the way that the act of writing forces them to distill their vague notions into clear ideas.
By putting half-formed thoughts on the page, we externalize them and are able to evaluate them much more objectively.
We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.
I’d argue that the cognitive shift in going from an audience of zero (talking to yourself) to an audience of ten people (a few friends or random strangers checking out your online post) is so big that it’s actually huger than going from ten people to a million people.