October 16th, 2009
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risk free life

One of the things I been thinking about lately is how the internet is causing me to take many less risks in my life. I find myself doing entirely too much research on too many things, (god knows I love researching). But is it necessary to do it with everything? Every purchase. Every question. Every topic? My book purchasing has changed dramatically given that I am now prone to sifting through dozens of reviews trying to determine which ones are most similar to my own thought process and intellectual leanings. Instead of making judgments on the publisher’s comments, I find myself endlessly judging reviewers, people I know nothing about and probably have nothing at all in common with. This seems a strange thing when you really start to think about it. If I walked into a classroom with a hundred people in it, I would assume that only about 1% of the people would be of a similar personality to myself (maybe this percentage is low, but then I sometimes fall into the category of “fringe”). Would I take advice from the rest on what to read? Definitely not. So how is it that I judge a book on how many stars it has received?
I don’t mean to be hard on myself for this. If I am going to spend money, I like to know that I am making a good choice based on as much information as I can. Hell, I love when people make book recommendations to me, even when they are total strangers. But I am starting to think about the implications of a total risk free world.
More importantly, what ever happened to just reading the back of a book and taking a chance? What of the learning that arises out of making a mistake and having to live with that? What of the amount of time it takes away from our lives to conduct research on everything? How are we being altered psychologically by the process of trying to ensure that something is perfect? How will we change if we do not ever take any chances? What if we never made any mistakes again?
I think I am going to try an experiment. No research allowed for a month. Just a leap into the unknown with every endeavor. I pledge to buy books based on the jacket alone.

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