Consolation of Reading covers many Eastern and Western thinkers, including Confucius and Friedrich Nietzsche.

From Confucius to Nietzsche

With the advent of smartphones, most people struggle to limit time on social media or video platforms. Worse, many find it very hard to stay off their mobile devices.

One significant consequence is that people do not read any more. As a result, the much-touted benefits of reading are gone for so many phone-addicted folks.

In particular, those who have grown up with smartphones are severely affected as their reading proficiency, including reading comprehension, tends to fall short of the standard.

Plus, they cannot enjoy other benefits of reading _ books help readers be more open-minded, creative, and intuitive on top of boosting brain power through knowledge, vocabulary, and memory improvement.

In his book “Consolation of Reading,” author Song Ho-sung recommends citizens to read more books in the smartphone era, especially classic ones by such authors as Confucius, Mencius, Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Oswald Spengler.

Their works are sometimes very difficult to go through, but Song said that the great books help readers expand the horizon of their consciousness.

“The languages (in the books) are not so direct or strong as videos, pictures, or music. But they attract us as they have real values for those who understand them,” Song writes.

“Readers can expand the horizon of their consciousness, which is tantamount to the evolution of their consciousness. In addition, they can feel that their intuition improves.”

It seems that the author, who studied engineering and runs a small-sized business west of Seoul, has read many books by both Eastern and Western thinkers.

But he appears not to have a deep understanding of some philosophers, especially Nietzsche _ he ignores such concepts of Nietzsche as overman, eternal return, and deicide.

It should be great to read and understand such books as Ethics of Spinoza and the Decline of the West by Spengler. But that is not good enough to write a good book on his or her own.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.