Francis Bacon, in his essay called "Of Studies," considers studies as they should be: for pleasure, for self-improvement, for business.
He considers the evils of excess study: laziness, affectation, and preciosity. Bacon divides books into three categories: those to be read in part, those to be read cursorily, and those to be read with care.
"Studies should include readings, which gives depth; speaking, which adds readiness of thought, and writing which trains in preciseness.
Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament is in discourse; and for ability is in the judgment and disposition of business.
For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best, from those that are learned.
To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar.
They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning, by study; and studies themselves, do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience.
Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation."
("Of Studies" by Francis Bacon)
Bacon, Francis. “Of studies.” 1601. Quotidiana. Ed. Patrick Madden. 18 Jan 2007. 14 Aug 2010