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We are drowning in books

Our exhaustive approach to reading does not make us truly happy. We appear to have a permanent sense of being under-read when compared with our peers and what the media has declared respectable.

To simplify our lives, we should ask the same old-fashioned question: What am I reading for? Rather than answering 'to know everything' we might find a more limited, focused, and useful goal. A new mantra to guide our reading may be: we want to read in order to learn to be content.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

The modern world equates the intelligent person will the well-read person. It's difficult to think of anyone arriving at any worthy insights without having read an impressive number of books.

But despite the pressure to read through multiple awarded and fascinating boo...

The premodern world was obsessed with asking, "what is the point is of reading?" They had answers too.

  • For example, the value for Christians and Muslims was holding up one book - the Bible or the Koran - as more important than anything else. This bo...

With this new targeted ambition in mind, to read for personal contentment, the pressure to read all the time starts to lift. We have the option of only a dozen books on our shelves and yet feel in no way intellectually undernourished or deprived.

When we know that we are reading to be cont...

The modern world has adopted an Enlightenment mantra that states there should be no limit to how much we read because we read in order to know everything. We don't read to understand God or to follow civic virtue; we read to understand the whole of human ...

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