It’s okay to leave your books unread. Stop blaming yourself for them.
We are used to studying books from cover to cover, that’s why we feel guilty when buying and never finishing a book. However, the main aspect regarding non-fiction books is to select and learn the right information.
We live in a society where knowledge prevails. We are surrounded by a huge amount of very different information. So huge that it is difficult for us to assimilate even a small portion of it. All this information boom makes us not only read more but do it differently too.
The main thing is not the number of books read, but the amount of knowledge you can acquire from them. If you learn to isolate this and cut off the unnecessary, reading books will no longer seem like dead weight.
Most successful entrepreneurs read only 20–40% of purchased books. Many read more than 10 books at the same time. To read as efficiently as possible, follow the example of successful people: they use special life-hacks to select and read books.
1. Think of books as an experiment.
Emerson Spatz, a serial entrepreneur and investor, has read thousands of books. He believes that buying a book is an experiment. Indeed, you need to spend some money and a bit of your time. But in return, you may find a book that dramatically changes your life.
The more of these experiments you conduct, the higher the probability of success. Every time a purchased book turns out to be complete nonsense, you know you are one step closer to the one that can change your life.
2. Let unread books remind you how much you don’t know yet.
It always seems that we know a lot more than we really do. We are surrounded by constant reminders of what we have achieved, but we forget how little this actually is. To compare all the knowledge that humankind can acquire and what we have now, is like comparing the universe and a small grain of sand. Therefore, appreciate intellectual self-criticism if you want to have a real idea of yourself and your place in the world, which can hopefully inspire you to learn more.
Nassim Taleb, a successful investor and best-selling author, calls the collection of unread books an anti-library. The more you learn, the greater this collection becomes. It is a clear proof of how much is left outside of your mind. So, a huge home library is a tool for learning, not for creating an image.
3. Remember: each book has its own time.
Books read at the right time are perceived not only consciously, but also subconsciously — that is when they are as effective as possible. The most important book on the shelf is the one you haven’t read yet. Even if you have a promising copy, it may not be time to start it yet. Its time may come in a year, or maybe in 10. When the book meets the eye at the right time, you will immediately take an interest in it and take it off the shelf.
Eben Pagan, a successful American entrepreneur says the ability to postpone a book is very valuable. It is important to read a book at the right time, when the question touched in it becomes genuinely interesting.
Be a competent reader and consider not the amount of read books, but the knowledge that you can gain from them.