Antilibrary: the power of unread books - Deepstash

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Building an antilibrary: the power of unread books

Antilibrary: the power of unread books

Antilibrary: the power of unread books

An antilibrary is a private collection of mostly unread books. It is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool.

It should contain a collection of resources around themes you are curious about. It should include as many unread books as your financial means allows you to put there. The more knowledge you accumulate, the larger the rows of unread books.

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Success And Buying Too Many Books

Many of us buy lots of books that go unread and causes us guilt, but that’s a habit that many successful people have they believe they are better off for it.

For those who actually put in the...

“I maybe start half the books I get, and I probably finish a third of the books I start. And that works out to finishing 1–2 books per week.” 

“I maybe start half the books I get, and I probably finish a third of the books I start. And that works out to finishing 1–2 books per week.” 

View Books As An Experiment

It costs you money and time, but it may pay for itself by changing your life for the better. It’s an experiment. And the more “smart” experiments you perform, the more likely you are to find a breakthrough experiment that changes everything.

Inherent in being a good experimenter is being OK with the losses. Therefore, remember that every time you purchase a book that turns out to be a dud, you are just one step closer to a book that will change your life.

A habit of compounding growth

Reading is a habit of compounding growth. When reading, you'll learn more, and you'll generate ideas and motivation for making other changes.

Reading books means you're getting more concentra...

Put the book down

The real cause of reading too few books is that you don't enjoy it enough.

Don't feel compelled to finish a book that has become boring, predictable or unhelpful. Start a new one. You can have many books through various states of completion. Some won't be finished, and that's okay. Reading less is worse than having a few go unfinished.

Build an online library

An obstacle to your reading habit is not having enough interesting books waiting to be read.

Create a list of potentially good books. If you have a Kindle or eReader, get samples of any book you might want to read — Source your wishlist from suggestions from other writers and authors. When someone recommends a book on a blog or tweet, add it to your wishlist.

The maximalist philosophy of reading
The maximalist philosophy of reading

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 n...

Reading in the premodern world

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 book was read repeatedly and with great attention.
  • In the Ancient Greek world, one focused on just two books: Homer's Odyssey and his Iliad. These were all that was needed to impart the Greek code of honour and the best guides to action in military and civilian affairs.
  • In the 18th century England, the ideal of reading was focused on Virgil's Aeneid - all a gentleman required to pass as cultivated. More reading was viewed as eccentric.
Why the modern world read so much

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 existence.

This maximalist legacy of the Enlightenment idea of reading is present within the publishing industry, within the way books are presented to the public at school and in shops, and within our own guilty responses to the pressure to read more.