Old books can be wonderful sources of information, ideas, and even inspiration. I collect them and sometimes even read them. Reading a 100 year old book in your field of interest is a challenge and can be a rewarding experience.
It is a challenge because it is dangerous. I worry that I might accidentally learn something that is no longer true. What if I remember it at some later time, like at a cocktail party or while giving a lecture, but don’t remember the source: “… As is well known, flies spontaneously generate from certain forms of mud …” (more…)