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Embracing the Uncomfortable Unknown

Embracing the Uncomfortable Unknown

The vastness of the unknown can feel terrifying, which is why many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of accumulating books they haven’t read. But embracing the unknown is what drives discovery. As Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell once said: “Thoroughly conscious ignorance is the prelude to every real advance in science.” An antilibrary is a reminder of everything we don’t know.

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A Collection Of Unread Books

A Collection Of Unread Books

You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

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The Antilibrary's Goal

The Antilibrary's Goal

According to Umberto Eco, a private library is a research tool. The goal of an antilibrary is not to collect books you have read so you can proudly display them on your shelf; instead, it is to curate a highly personal collection of resources around themes you are curious about. Instead of a cele...

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The Antilibrary

The Antilibrary

An antilibrary is a private collection of unread books, first mentioned by Lebanese-American scholar and author Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book, 'The Black Swan'

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Umberto Eco's Collection of Books

Umberto Eco's Collection of Books

The writer of The Swan, Umberto Eco is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories:

  • Those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?”*

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shyyamber

I am you, but me - them, and us - him, and her - loved, and hated lonely, but never alone - Introvert, and extrovert - introspective, yet in denial. Insane, amidst moments of brilliant sanity.

Now I see my massive collection of unread books with a new perspective!

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The antilibrary makes us aware of unknown unknowns

The vastness of the unknown can feel overwhelming, which is why people feel uncomfortable with accumulating books they haven't read. But embracing the unknown is what drives discovery.

The antilibrary is then a reminder of everything we don't know. Being...

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