If you glanced at an apple, you could probably explain it well.
Red. Round. Stem on top.
When someone mentions an apple and how nice it is, you can smile with relief, safe in the knowledge you can speak the same language other people who eat apples do, even though you haven’t had one.
When the apple becomes a New York Times Best Selling Apple, you can’t wait to bring it up in conversation.
“It’s red,” you would say. “Round. There is a stem on top.”
There’s just one problem: the apple hasn’t changed you. It becomes just another meaningless word in your mind like “fizzlecrump” or “zigglezag” or “mitochondria.” You would know what an apple is, but not what an apple is. It has impacted your life in no way, shape, or form.
And that is why you should read books instead of just summaries.
This article originally appeared in Medium.