Most ideas can be rather simply put. Cliff notes have been truncating books for ages. Book reviews often summarize a book sufficiently that you can have an intelligent sounding conversation about the ideas presented with your colleagues.
Unfortunately, ideas represented in simple forms rarely translate into change: Change of action, change of understanding, change of perception. They become facts that we can spout back, but not readily apply.
Related to the previous post regarding management books, even books that say the same thing from a different perspective, can have benefit, simply because they force you to dwell on an idea for a period of time: To see it from different perspectives. To hear facts about it. To engage in stories regarding it. These are the things that result in change and an in-depth understanding that enables things to be experienced.
This is why I enjoy reading and listening, even if it’s been said before. Spending time living with an idea, is what enables comprehension. But if you really want to understand an idea, then try to teach it. This requires reconfiguring the way we understand something sufficiently to communicate it to someone else, the result of which, is lots of dwelling.
It’s also one of the reasons I have enjoyed writing this blog. I often find that by expounding on some idea that strikes me, I understand it in a way that I never would have otherwise.