Scenario: You’ve just brought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?
Do you ever read manuals?
Anything at all?
I try to bring home as few complicated gadgets as possible since I tend to lose patience with set-up and troubleshooting. I don't have a lot of patience for gadgets that require my attention. But, on those few occasions when I decide to delve into gadgetmania ...
I try to set-up, use and troubleshoot those gadgets without referring to the documentation. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I appreciate well-written and concise documentation. I want to spend as little time with it as possible. I'm all about using the gadget ... not messing with it. Of course, you are likely to hear me shout, "Hey! I didn't know it would do that!" six months into said gadget ownership. What can I say?
Manuals? If it looks like I need to read a manual, I generally use the table of contents or the index and see if I can only read the section that applies. I will read the manual more extensively only when I must ... or when I see someone doing something with their gadget that I didn't know was possible. Then I shout, "Hey! I didn't know it would do that!" and consult the manual.
How-to books? Rarely. I really, really need to WANT to know "how-to" before I'll read a how-to book. Even then, I'll choose the shortest one I can find. One page how-to sheets are even better.
Self-help guides? I sometimes think I'll read a particular self-help guide, but somehow they always get set aside so I can get back to whatever novel or short story collection I'm reading. I'm not opposed to self-improvement, but the lure of storytelling is too strong for me to say no to my fictional reads.
Anything? Yes! Novels and short stories and blogs and professional literature (library stuff) and nutritional labels on food packaging ... anything but manuals, how-to's, and self-helps!