I’m a promiscuous reader. I go from one book to another without any guilt. In fact, I used to be proud of the fact that I’m reading multiple books at a time. It made me feel smarter and most importantly, justified all of my book purchases.
After a decade of promiscuity, I’m having second thoughts. The excitement of shuffling from one book to another is slowly being replaced by frustration of not recalling what I was reading about and consequently, not finishing the book.
At the start of 2018, I made a resolution not to purchase any more books until I finished all the books in my possession.
However, that determination quickly evaporated when I purchased “Get Big Fast and Do More Good: Start Your Business, Make It Huge, and Change the World” while I was researching for the article, “wise words from “yes to” founder” last week.
I was overwhelmed by an unexplainable sense of urgency that I had to read this book. It’s odd actually. The book was published five years ago and I’m not even sure if that’s relevant anymore, yet, I was overtaken by the desire to purchase the book.
According to my Amazon order history, I purchased the book on January 10th, and five days later, I’ve only read 18%. Instead of chugging along to complete “Get Big Fast,” I purchased another book four days later.
I was so inspired by Barak Obama after watching Letterman’s new Netflix show that I went to Strand with a mission to walk out with Dreams of My father in the . To be honest, it took some digging and had to elicit help from the information desk, but finding this book among stacks of other history books made it feel even more special.
I started reading Obama’s autobiography on the subway platform, ready to dive right into the book, only to come home and abandon it for Professor Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, reading it until I fell asleep last night.
I realized that there’s no point in trying to stop myself from purchasing new books. It’s probably easier to admit that I’m possessed by this random and sudden obsession to purchase new book that tickles my fancy at any given time.
Upon further reflection, I remembered that I used to finish a book from cover to cover during my high school, college and even graduate school years. I wonder what happened since then?
As Mark O’Connell suggested, perhaps my reading habits changed because of the internet. The multiple tabs and constant news feed updates brought-out and normalized ADD tendencies that I had.
I’m not saying that the Internet has entirely robbed me of my ability to concentrate when I need to, but rather that spending hours online every day has had the effect of normalizing a certain kind of fleeting, casual encounter with texts…
As I’m finishing up this post, I realized that I just need to accept my book buying behavior and focus on retaining new information and insights from these books, instead of feeling bad about it.
And with that note, I’m excited to share my reading journey.