Tim Brown

Making time to read

My work at Typekit has been intense lately because we’re making big changes, and that means lots more communication to coordinate everybody (plus, you know, doing the work we communicate about). I have more active side projects than ever, and they’re going well. My schedule works for me. I have plenty of time with family and friends.

But I don’t read or study the work of others as much as I used to. I don’t pay attention to other people the way I used to, and I don’t like this at all. Reading blog posts and articles is how I got where I am, professionally. It’s why I have the ideas I have, and it’s the basis of my relationships with good people (“Hey, I liked what you wrote…”). Playing with a technique or an idea somebody shared has always helped me think.

Reading time can be hard to justify, even to oneself. There is no deadline. It’s not going to move any immediate projects forward (most likely). And it often feels like a waste of time, especially if your interests are diverse. But it’s important. Most great work is the product of collaborative thinking.

Jeffrey said that if you don’t write, you don’t know what you think. Well, if you don’t read, you don’t know what you could think.