On “Reading Is Always Beneficial” – Yu Dafu


郁达夫 《说开卷有益》




On “Reading Is Always Beneficial”
Yu Dafu

“Reading is always beneficial” is an old idiom first used by our ancients to urge people to do more reading. I used to blame the ancients for misleading me whenever I finished reading a bad book. Now I know better than to do that. Of course we profit from a good book because, by reading it, we know why it is good. But, on the other hand, after reading a bad book, we know all the whys and wherefores of its being bad. Isn’t that something of benefit to us too? Confucius says, “When three walk together, there must be one who can be my teacher.” However, it doesn’t necessarily follow that one of the three is always a teacher by positive example; on the contrary, he could be a teacher by negative example for us to take warning from. Therefore, that people nowadays have taken to reading whatever books they like, trashy or not, including those already generally judged to be good or bad, is probably an indication of social progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *