Before just recently, I read a lot. But, all of what I read was non-fiction –– and more specifically business non-fiction.
Books like Think & Grow Rich, The 4-Hour Work Week and Purple Cow lined my shelves and overflowed from my desk –– sometimes making their way to my hardwood floor with a loud smaaack in the middle of the night.
Still to this day, I am not entirely sure who the culprit is: gravity or a ghost trying to improve him or herself in the spirit world.
I like to think the latter.
Anyways, you get the idea. I read a lot of business non-fiction. And, the other day as I was ripping through yet another business book I had a realization ––
I am not creating original thoughts for myself anymore but instead regurgitating the original thoughts of other people.
Other great people, have you. But, other people nonetheless.
While I knew I was certainly getting smarter, I wasn’t necessarily getting sharper. And, by sharper, I mean the ability to think on one’s feet, quickly, creatively and originally.
I suppose an alternate definition would be one’s ability to create creative thoughts and concepts the world has not yet seen –– a strength that is (in my humble opinion) a necessity for a writer and thinker.
So, a few days back I said enough of this shit –– and decided I was done reading all the big boy business books (for the time being) and was going to take-in some fiction.
And so I picked up a cult classic, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and since the book was inspired by true events, it served as the perfect jumping off point into the world of fiction.
In that book, I was taken on an amazing adventure (one that you will have to read to know yourself) and more importantly –– for the first time in a long time I had an original thought emerge from the depths of my mind, subconscious, the universe, what have you.
This original idea? Righteous self-assurance can lead to disaster. Or, in other words, a god-like faith or confidence in one’s own beliefs can lead to complete and udder devastation.
It made me realize that anytime I think I am 100% right, I need to talk to someone who thinks I am 100% wrong.
Which, speaking of righteous self-assurance, you may be righteously self-assured in your belief that non-fiction are the only books you should be reading.
But, here is a final take-away for you to think about. Much of the non-fiction we read is consumed — regurgitated, consumed––regurgitated, over and over again.
Eventually, we have to ask ourselves––
are we consuming puke?
If not puke, certainly pretentious poorly-written listicles.
And, while I don’t write too many listicles, I certainly write a ton of non-fiction. I suppose I am righteously self-assured that my puke smells better than most others.
Regardless, you can’t judge a guy for wanting to make a creative home-cooked meal. Have you ever eaten puke? If not, talk to your dog.
While it gets the job done, it’s nothing to write home about.
By Cole Schafer.
Cole is the copy chief at Honey Copy, where he helps startups make more money through emails and landing pages that read like poetry and sell like Ogilvy. When he isn’t slinging copy, he is right here on Medium sharing ideas about life, business and marketing. Or riding alpacas.