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Making the most of a book

As the regulars know I love books and I have a vast collection of them. They are not all books on prepping and survival, some are information and some are fiction but even those have some good bits of advice and are usually educational regarding the human condition.

I have found that I get the best out of the books if I process them a certain way. That includes many of the fiction books where there are some very good ideas that are useful to us.

When I buy a book on prepping or survival the chances are I won’t be doing anything with it straight away. It may be a book on dentistry, surgery or farming for example. I will be reading it for information solely for preparation and I will then be putting it in my book collection perhaps never to be looked at again. However, simply storing knowledge is not the end of our preparation we need to know what other items we need to store so that we can utilise the knowledge.

To this end I use a pad and pen whilst I read any book and write down the items that are suggested in the book or ideas for what I want to do. If the book mentions specific tools then now is the time to identify them and buy them or find alternatives. Just having the knowledge is not sufficient for many things. Make a list and add it to your list of purchases. It is pointless after an event opening a book and then finding that you are short of the tools, tools readily available now but not after an event.

Ideally though you would use the book and build up your experience that way. Tasks like wild food foraging and trapping can be done now to practise your skills but in the main unless you are on a homestead then it is difficult to practise ahead of time. Identify what you can do and if you have the time then do it. Although obviously leave the illegal stuff like hunting with bows until later. Don’t want to break the law if you can help it.

I look further ahead as well. I have books for children on reading, writing and arithmetic plus history, geography and several books on basic skills for the next generation to learn from. I have books for teachers to enable them to teach areas they have little experience in. I also buy books that I may never use or even see used. Books on medicine, power distribution, sanitation, etc. that are of little use to me but may be of use to a community which may have a doctor. dentist, a plumber or others with relevant skills within their community. I even have books I will never understand on advanced mathematics, nuclear physics, chemistry, architecture and other things that would help us back up the ladder of civilisation when we have time and resources to educate to that level. Knowledge that we have invested millions of man hours acquiring that would have required those same hours being spent again. Those hours can more usefully be used.

Unfortunately buying new books all the time is very expensive. Although I do buy many of my prepping books from Amazon and the like I also buy a lot from charity shops and cheap book shops. They don’t have many on prepping and survival though but they do have a lot of books that are useful to us such as poultry keeping and educational style books. Well worth the time browsing through the book stores.

The current trend now though is for people to buy ebooks. Books in electronic format for display on a tablet or notebook. Ebooks require hardware and power to make them work. Do you really want to be working on treating someone and then find your ebook display runs out of power? Do you want to find your entire collection wiped by an EMP? Electronic books have their place in preps and although I am collecting ebooks myself and currently looking for a good platform for us to use I will personally always default to dead tree books. Make sure that all your main books are in paper. Some like first aid books you should even have multiple copies of.

Many people print out ebooks for storage but it works out very expensive in printer cartridges and time. Plus I find that our ink can easily get smudged and illegible. The ink gets wet or grease from your finger can smudge it. Paper sticks together in the folder and smudges when it is separated. I think the cost of the book is worthwhile if the book is available at a reasonable cost.

One other thing where an ebook is good is that it enables you to read and decide if the book is worth purchasing. I have read many ebooks that I would never consider buying. However, ebooks that are worthwhile owning I have purchased a dead tree version for my bookshelf.

Finally, storage. I keep my first aid book near my first aid kits. My survival books near my BOB, my trapping books with my trapping kit. That way when I pick up the kit I have all I need. All my important stuff is is readily collectable bags and locations. My general stuff, such as gardening books, etc. are in my book collection boxes. If necessary they will be discarded in an emergency. They are heavy and are not worth my life. I intend to prioritise my ebooks over these in any evacuation plans although obviously I would prefer the dead tree books. Such is the sacrifices we have to consider.

2 comments to Making the most of a book

  • iaaems

    Your article reminded me of something I read a while back, that an educated person does not necessarily know a great deal but does know where to find the information they require when it is needed most. None of us can be expected to know everything. In my youth the database for info was the Reference section of the local Library – these days we have the technology to build our own Libraries, electronic or otherwise. For some strange reason I still prefer the ‘old technology’ of the printed page – possibly my age showing here.
    Nice article.

  • Skean Dhude

    That is my view too. Just need to make sure that the information is somewhere. Thats one reason I hate giving away books.

    I like to read a book as well. Computer screens are nowhere near as good but that is just personal. I’ll use a screen for survival.

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