How many of these books have you read?
So, I had a little conversation today with a friend regarding how many books I have on my shelf and it got me thinking about actually counting how many books I actually have. After counting the books I was a little disappointed to find out that I have only 210 books on my personal library with about 10 or 20 that I have not finished reading or started to read.
But, after feeling guilty and a little disappointed at my poor book shift, I remember reading Nessim Nicholas Talab book The Black Swan and he had a really quote that I think conceptionalizes how we should all feel about our book shelf, whether we read all the books on it or not it should not matter because the number of books read should have less value compared to unread book;
"Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. 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 menancingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.” Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He 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?” and the others - a very small minority - who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. ” Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
So, next time you start feeling guilty about the number of unfinished or unread books on your bookshelf remember that read books are less valuable than unread ones.