Before civilization got the hang of reading the printed word, the humans had to survive and struggle to get ahead by reading the world. Those observations were direct, not filtered through the text composed by some author, usually a supposed expert.
For example, the caveman needed to know where to hunt the next day. He checked out the terrain. He took into account what his neighbors brought back to the cave from wherever. He engaged some of the hunters in conversation and then had to sort out what was boasting, what was a deliberate attempt to mislead, and what was on the level. You bet, caveman's ability to discern the reality had to be pretty good. Otherwise no dinner.
Our ability might not be so keen. I noticed that when I didn't have much time to read. Too much work came in. So instead of consulting with the client armed with already-framed information from books and articles, I listened. The result was an authentic conversation. I took in most of it because my mind was not automatically rejecting what didn't fit in with the mental models.
Today I did such a consultation. Turns out the client had a much better idea for organizing the book for him than I did. He also introduced better topics than I had prepared.
For 2014, my resolution is read less, be out more walking the dog and listening in on the world as it talks. The oral tradition can be so enlightening.