To choose to not read books because you can’t retain enough information to regurgitate it to friends or others is tantamount to not going to the gym to exercise because you cant explain to friends why your muscles get bigger or why you feel better. This is literally missing the forest for the trees. The act is the act is the act, in and of itself, what your article speaks to is our unhealthy attachment to outcomes, we do this because…we do this for… this is a systemic issue in our society to leads to anxiety over what should i be doing, whats the right thing, whats the perfect thing? Do the thing for the thing itself! These are just neurosis, the mind trying to grasp the mind with the mind.
Most neuroscience will tell you that consciousness only processes a small percentage of the information that our brain and our subconscious sees, hears, knows, thinks and uses in making decisions. Most conscious decisions are supported by a myriad of subconscious and unconscious processes that actually do most of the heavy lifting for us, and then our conscious comes in at the 11th hour as a Monday morning quaterback with all the answers and takes all the credit.
Being able to regurgitate information as some computer that can access its RAM on command as a way of “looking good” or “appearing smart” in essence to feel good about yourself by flexing your competence or intelligence as capital, is a manifestation of the ego, there is no such thing as a waste of time unless you consider it so. Time is relative and a social construct that creates the illusion of a finite game, an end to be had, a title to be won, so that we can parade around our title, our intelligence, our wit, our good fortune for all to see.
Incorporate some trust in yourself, and surrender to the possibility that when vital, the content will provide the guidance you seek at exactly the time it is needed and not recalled on command like a circus performer. Perhaps if you viewed the act of reading as a training for your subconsciouis and your higher-self, a honing of your unseen, unfelt senses and capabilities as a sine qua non you would lose your expectation of a result and maybe even enjoy the process of reading.
As Nassim Nicholas Taleb would say, absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence…