PhD Candidate @ MIT
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
I've argued with multiple people about what my real reasons for reading so much are - and to the question as to whether I remember all the facts and ideas I have read, I offer a confident no. I seek the knowledge offered by books not merely for the sake of the knowledge itself, but for the sake of the understanding that goes along with it. Each new book offers up the connections between ideas that the author himself has made. If what I have read has managed to alter a connection between ideas I may have (which need not have anything to do with the book's ideas), or has created a new connection altogether, I will consider the time spent reading worthwhile. Every book I read gives me new ways to think and talk about my own ideas (and thus I do a lot of interdisciplinary borrowing). I think that what sets individuals apart is their ability to connect bits of knowledge in their own unique ways, traversing their own unique paths among associations. Thus, in reading someone else's book, I hope to borrow some of their associations and connections, in order to build on my own. I envision my own brain gaining more and more connections (and thus, increasingly more efficient paths between any two disparate bits of knowledge). I can almost feel (with a tinge) a good new connection, as it is being made :) Enough of these, and I will consider the book a success.
courtesy of: http://www.silverplanet.com