We think of books in terms of discrete units. We think of them as things to be ‘finished’. But apart from maybe detective novels, you would want to consume a good book multiple times.
I read the book ‘HBR guide to persuasive presentations’ almost every time I need to make a high stakes presentation. I flip through ‘Steal like an artist’ when I am in a the creative phase of a design project. These books would not make much sense of you read them out of context to ‘finish reading’ them.
The ideas and mental models offered by such books work as tools to create great work. And we need these tools as much as we need the software and hardware tools. The mental models, the specific nerve connections we make in our brains as we implement these ideas repeatedly – are the clear benefit.
But we miss these benefits if we look at books only as means of consumption, or worse, forced drudgery.