Why I Still Appreciate 300-page Long Books That Could Have Been an Essay Instead

As a reader, one of my essential tools is Goodreads (with the others being Kindle and the Library app.) I have many books on my “Want-to-Read” list on Goodreads. What I usually do to these books is to skim through the reviews and once in a while, those “self-help” books will have multiple reviews stating that the book has good advices but is too lomg and could have been compressed into an essay that is only 10% as long as the book. One such book is Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages”. It basically says people feel love in 5 distinct but not mutually exclusive methods.

I read this book a few months back and I agree with those comments. I believe you can even fit those contents on one side of an A-4 size paper. But what convinced me to buy the book despite knowing what these five love languages is this. The author did not come up with these points from thin air. It is extremely important that the author came to these conclusions from years of studying and thinking. The author had already tested these concepts to use on real-life couples when he wrote this book. And their effectiveness can be observed through these case studies.

You might say that these case studies get very repetitive after a while. I do not deny that. I can already predict the outcome of how the couple’s issue is resolved: By using the correct love language.

I only noticed this after I finished reading, that the repetitiveness of these points are what made me reflect. The case studies aren’t all exactly identical. Each one is different, no matter how slight. Once in a while you find yourself identifying with one specific case study so strongly because maybe you’ve had the exact same experience with someone in your life.

This is when the book hits you. A book is not just a list of points for you to learn. It is much more than that. When you read a book, you also immerse yourself into the author’s point of view. Into the situations that the author had been through. You can then think about what you would have done and how you would react to a certain situation. It is through these “imaginations” that makes a book a much greater tool than a list of points. If you want that, the application “Blinkist” is great. But when you put yourself in the author’s shoe a little deeper, a lot more reflection can happen and the “self-help” might be more effective. These long books are still worth it.

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