Books or money?

Screenshot anime Minami-ke (Kana and Fujioka)

I read books once in a while too. It is nothing to be ashamed of!

I came across an interesting question on Quora: A wizard offers you a choice: $40,000,000, or the ability to absorb one book’s knowledge instantly, once every week. What do you choose, and why?

There were some interesting answers. Some thought that with all that knowledge, you could earn more than 40 million dollars. (Where did that number come from anyway?) Some thought that if you had the money, you could read as many books as you wanted, and the process of reading them is much more enjoyable than just downloading them into your brain. Some pointed out that large amounts of money have negative effects on humans, even though they don’t expect it beforehand.

My favorite answer was that there are already a number of people who have 40 million dollars. But being able to absorb all that knowledge would basically make you a superhero, something that did not currently exist and had never existed before.

I am aware that my view is colored by my living in Norway. Money is not a big deal here. There is next to no difference in living standard between me and my upstairs neighbors, two single unemployables from a foreign country. If you don’t have money, the state will provide. If you have money, the state will take it, although gradually. If the Norwegian welfare state dissolves, whatever causes it is probably powerful enough to wipe out my fortune as well. We are talking about the end of the information age or some such. But whatever that would be, if I survive I presumably still have my knowledge.


In my actual life, I both work and read books. I certainly spend more time at work than I do reading books, but the truth is that I increased my employment from 90% to 100% last year not because I wanted more money, but because I wanted to help people more. I am not sure I have succeeded, but that was my intention. To me, work is an expression of love. So is my journal, and I’m not as good as I wanted at that either. Perhaps reading more books would help.

For in the current reality, I cannot simply put my hand on a book and absorb its knowledge completely into my brain. Even if I read it all the way through, I will rarely have understood it completely. This may be because I have a tendency to pick books that are a bit above me. If it is something I can easily understand, wouldn’t it be enough to read an abstract, summary or review? Unfortunately, I think I tend to reach a bit too high when I buy books, and so I end up finishing only a fraction of the books I start on. Perhaps I should try something easier next time…

Quora is quite interesting, by the way. Perhaps I should make a habit of fishing questions from there if I don’t have anything pressing to say. Or perhaps I should shut up if I don’t have anything pressing to say. Nah, you could probably not make me do that. Not even for $40,000,000. ^_^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *