There was a time when I was proud to say I had a book on everything. Yes, I have some special interests, but I have got by in life by being a generalist. This has helped me in my job, being able to work with lots of people, and seeing the links between what I do, what other agencies provide, and what is needed.
And in my time away from work I was always fairly handy in a quiz team, though some would say there is more to life than playing your joker on the "name the artist" round.
But along came the internet, and my stacks of books on obscure subjects became steadily more redundant. At first I held on to my repository of information, thinking that the www would never be a substitute for printed and bound pages. Slowly, I'm letting things go, freeing up some space, and clearing some tomes that have become rather dated. There's little I can just hand over to the chazza; I have to put the provisionally rejected books in a pile for a last once-over, and skip read, to squeeze that last bit of juice from the fruit.
Today I said goodbye to a book that I inherited a few years ago from my Aunt Beth, "How the city works" by Oscar Hobson, from 1938, but this was a sixth edition from 1959! It describes the workings of the City of London, especially looking at banking, trade and finance. The glossary of terms has no mention of hedge funds or sub-prime markets.
And now I have the internet to inform and entertain me. And what pearls of wisdom do I receive? E-mails teasing me, with pictures of camper vans on the back of bicycles. Information is not wisdom.