"Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….
"Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?
"Do you ever read manuals?
"Anything at all?"
I'm a habitual reader. I even read the directions on shampoo bottles although it's unlikely that any new techniques in shampooing have developed in, say, the past five thousand years. So, yes, I always read the instructions and manuals. Sometimes it's fun to read the instructions because they were obviously written in one language before being translated - - not very well - - into English. Figuring out how to follow the instructions then can be maddening, but also entertaining.
I don't care for self-help books, but I like how-to guides, especially those written about "lares and penates," home and hearth.
I learned many things from books and online articles. Almost everything I know about cooking and baking techniques came from books. Right now I am reading about how to correct drainage problems in one's yard. The situation looks hopeless so far, though, and my thoughts have ranged as far as an Archimedes screw, but in reverse (tongue in cheek).
I admit it was with more shock and distaste than needfulness that I read The Joy of Cooking's instructions on skinning game and plucking fowl; I think the pictures were worth volumes. So far so good: I've never had to do those things!
Short answer: if I'm going to fail at some project, it won't be for lack of reading the directions.