March 2, 2023•245 words
You can copy and paste the Wikipedia cheat sheet or you can pay several thousand dollars for a tailor-made course.
You can play the summary of the book on YouTube, at 1.5x the speed, or you can keep listening to the audiobook and reading the print version at the same time until you're sure you know what it means.
You can have an enthusiast friend explain the main points to you, or travel to the best-in-the-world expert and shadow them for a month.
If it sounds obvious, consider: fifty years ago, in most cases, neither of these extremes were available to an average learner. If your library had five books and two tapes on Zen Buddhism, that was your lot.
Also consider this: because we can now imagine these extreme positions, we can sell and market them. There's now a global market for speed reading and Cliff's Notes, and there's now a global market for the retreat and the masterclass. This puts pressure on the middle of the road: what used to be an easy sell now needs to justify competing for the learner's dollar - and each mid-range marketer's first thought may well be to promise you a bit of one of the extremes.
Finally, consider the pressure to find space beyond the old extreme: in the race to out-Cliff the Cliff's Notes, to out-master the masterclass, what is your personal tolerance level - how fast is too fast, how thorough is too thorough?