Ever considered what it means to say that a book is alive? For me a live book is a book where I gain a new insight every time I read it because previous readings + the experience I’ve gained in the mean time unlocks new understanding. In that sense the book is alive because it helps one grow and its impression grows alongside. It changes. It can’t be downloaded into the brain.

Conversely, a dead book is a book that remains the same every time you read it. It does not change you. Even if you change on your own, the book would be dead if you do not gain anything new after reading it.

What’s alive and what’s dead is different for different people.

I tried making the ERE book alive, but the most alive book I know is Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. This book is often used by bankers and business men for its strategic and inspirational concepts. Personally it did not become alive for me before I took up sword fighting. The first time I read it many years ago, it just went over my head.

Originally posted 2010-11-05 13:29:03.