I know I’m a certified over-thinker so I’ve decided to go all out. I was never one to settle for just thinking. I like talking about what I think because I strive to be the best over-thinker there ever was. This is part 2 of my Overthinking 101 series: Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover.
People who know me know that I often go into skeptical mode and question everything around me. This is my Overthinking Mode. If it gets a little crazy, remember I’m just being silly. Enjoy!
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” ― George Eliot,
The popular saying allegedly conveys that you shouldn’t judge people based on their outward appearances. That’s fine, dandy and all but it doesn’t make sense to me because of the following reasons:
The Book Cover Industry
A book comes to life because of the writer, editor and a team of artists that create the illustrations. A book is not a book without its book cover; and there’s an entire industry that revolves around the manufacture and designing the perfect compliment to an amazing novel.
If I had to create a comparison, I would liken the book cover industry to the cosmetics, perfume and clothing industries. Jewelries, gold watches, diamond rings and other accessories cost a lot of money because people pay top dollar to look good. To make a good impression to the boss/boss’ friends/future business associates/colleagues.
If the “book cover” didn’t matter as much as the content, why doesn’t anyone pay for personality training over beautification (plastic surgeries). I’d like to pull up statistics on this but I think you get my point.
Judgment is Not Limited to the Aesthetics
When we go to a bookstore, we don’t just check out the book cover and say “hey, I wanna buy this!” We often read a bit of the synopsis, find out about the reviews and, if it’s open, read a chapter or two.
It would be silly if someone were to claim “oh, I didn’t even read the synopsis and I don’t know about the story beforehand but I bought the book despite it’s worn-down state because I believe that books shouldn’t be judged based on their covers.” You, my friend, have just wasted your money over a book that you probably won’t even touch.
How does this apply to real life? What people say about a person is also part of the cover that we theoretically do not judge from. Gossip, hearsay and second-hand unverified unreliable information is also something people consider upon accepting friendship. Once or twice, I’ve stayed away from guys who were alleged drug addicts. They might have been Doctors, Biologists or Physicists but if (reliable) people say that they’ve been known to steal or murder for drugs, I don’t stick around to find out if they could recite Shakespeare while playing the Moonlight Sonata on an electric guitar.
Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder
I personally like any book that has the word “Psychopath” or “Murder” in it. Psychology is one of my many fascinations and any book with that word (that doesn’t look like a first-grader designed the cover) automatically gets me excited.
In real life, I’d compare it to my admiration for people with beautifully-sculpted abs. There are around four things in a person that I have a deadly weakness for: abs, intelligence, humor and lovely eyes. If a person comes to me possessing all those qualities, male or female, I’d have to cry just to refuse to be in their company.
I’m lucky enough to be blessed with looks that aren’t appealing to the ones I have a weakness for so they won’t bother seducing me (thank goodness). But that just brings me to my point: everyone has a preference. People don’t like people with certain skin color/eye shape/outfit, regardless of that person being the sole hope for a cancer cure.
No one goes into a bookstore, picks up a tattered book and says “You know what, I’ll take this because it has nice content.” When you find a book you like, you usually ask the attendant to give you a similar one with a better cover or one still wrapped up in plastic.
Imagine you’re scheduled for a job interview. You pick out your best corporate or smart casual attire. You make sure your hair is properly brushed and your teeth looks nice.
If people weren’t to judge books by their covers (or people by their outward appearances), would we have to bother?
My point is, no one really reads books to determine if the cover does it justice anyway. The people we admire are the beautiful, regardless if they twerk with their tongue out or cause public disturbance due to drug intoxication or have been in and out of rehabilitation centers. A Nobel prize winner died in the Philippines because he wasn’t given medical attention. Had he been a celebrity, he would have lived a bit longer. Or maybe if he had been the hottest Nobel prize winner (that’s apparently a thing), he’d have gotten recognition.
So why did anyone ever say “don’t judge the book by its cover” when no one does it anyway?
Not in the bookstore, not in real life.