Reading older books and texts

In 2019 I am focusing on reading recently published books but also including old books and texts including books from the pre-1900 about cities and design. I am hoping to read these book to gain some knowledge and understanding of past issues and topics to see if there are trends and ideas that could provide me with some ideas or inspiration for 2019.

Why would I want to read past text? My theory is that many technologies and ideas are coming full circle including the electric car (first practical electric car was 1859) which have reappeared numerous times in history over the past 160 years, therefore there many issues that cities and people faced in the 1800-early 1960’s (density, pollution, etc that we could further understand and utilise).

I had decided this a new year goal for 2019 but was thought about broadening it to futurists of 1980’s after recently reading the Isaac Asimov piece from 1983 predicting what 2019 would hold for the world from a 1983 perspective and it was interesting to read that he was not far off on many of his predictions about Computerization, Jobs and Pollution, however sadly his prediction about Education did not eventuate.

” The growing complexity of society will make it impossible to do without them, except by courting chaos; and those parts of the world that fall behind in this respect will suffer so obviously as a result that their ruling bodies will clamour for computerization as they now clamour for weapons. “

“The jobs that will disappear will tend to be just those routine clerical and assembly-line jobs that are simple enough, repetitive enough, and stultifying enough to destroy the finely balanced minds of those human beings unfortunate enough to have been forced to spend years doing them in order to earn a living, and yet complicated enough to rest above the capacity of any machine that is neither a computer nor computerized.”

” The consequences of human irresponsibility in terms of waste and pollution will become more apparent and unbearable with time and again, attempts to deal with this will become more strenuous. It is to be hoped that by 2019, advances in technology will place tools in our hands that will help accelerate the process whereby the deterioration of the environment will be reversed. “

“Education, which must be revolutionized in the new world, will be revolutionized by the very agency that requires the revolution — the computer.
Schools will undoubtedly still exist, but a good schoolteacher can do no better than to inspire curiosity which an interested student can then satisfy at home at the console of his computer outlet.
There will be an opportunity finally for every youngster, and indeed, every person, to learn what he or she wants to learn. in his or her own time, at his or her own speed, in his or her own way.
Education will become fun because it will bubble up from within and not be forced in from without. “


How do you read?

I know some people read one book at a time cover to cover as they want to keep the same train of thought. I read multiple books at the same time, I feel that reading books at the same time in the same or different areas allows for a crossflow of ideas and then possibly germination of new ideas triggered by reading two or three books at the same time.

For remembering those ideas I usually either bend the corner to quickly reread when I have finished the book. I also take notes in my phone with title, page number and idea I had, this allows me to come back through the reread and see if there is something I wish to action on or research further.

I try to read 12-20 books a year along with the numerous blog articles and academic papers. Most of the books I read are non-fiction, I will read fiction every so often but usually on holidays when I want to try and take a break from work, WLA and other business pursuits.

Reading outside your field

Reading is an excellent way to stimulate your brain and gain new insights and generate new ideas. We often get stuck in a rut reading the same newspapers, books, authors, blogs, and other media that our field of vision becomes too focuses and narrow. It may be good for your job to be up to date on all the latest news and information in your field. However, you often find that people in your company or profession are reading the same material and often authored in your country of residence. If you want to get ahead and learn more the best thing you can do is look for reading material whether online or in hard copy form that is outside of your field and in something totally different. Why? because often our jobs and lives are about solving problems whether small or large we are all looking to create better ways of how we do our job.

Reading outside your profession opens you up to different ways of thinking and different approaches to problem solving. So, if your in finance maybe read an architectural journal; If your in engineering maybe read a logistics whitepaper; If your in architect read a biological science conference excerpts; Reading a wider range of material stimulates your brain and gives you more to think about but changes the way you may approach a problem next time or provide a solution for a problem you have been working on for months or years.

I am always interested to hear from people and read their blog or material so send me an email at if you wish to send me something you think I might find interesting.