Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don’t finish every book you start

It is so easy to feel compelled to finish every book you start. A great sense of guilt fills our minds if we do not reach the end of that book we used our hard-earned dollars to buy. But not every book deserves to be read in its entirely.

As Francis Bacon said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few books to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

I myself was guilty of feeling that need to read every book I picked up from beginning to end. I soon found that not only did my reading pile become unmanageable but I began to enjoy the pastime of reading less. Once I decided I would be more selective about which books I actually completed, I not only got through more of them, I found I learned more from each one.

If you find that after reading the first three chapters of a book, you have not gained any worthwhile information or that the book has failed to keep your attention, do yourself a favour: put the book away and make better use of your time (like reading the next book in your pile).

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