How I went from barely reading to reading 40 books per year

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash. Source

Background

A spark

A slow evolution

Onward

  • It requires minimal resources and setup: literally just a book and a light source. It’s also a stable cost — unlike other hobbies or interests that may require increased spending as you get more specialized (e.g. producing music), you will spend about the same on books no matter how far you go with them.
  • It never ends. Not even close. There are always way too many books to read.
  • It leaves you feeling refreshed, energized, curious. Any good book leaves me feeling this way.
  • Reading books is a great way to leverage hedonic adaptation. With material goods, the story goes like this: you consume a good; well-being improves; then you stabilize and want more. This can quickly become unsustainable (see: species called homo sapiens on planet earth). You can think of the knowledge and stories you obtain from books as a “cognitive good”: you absorb ideas/stories, it feels great, then your well-being stabilizes, and now you want more ideas/stories. But then you can just consume more — there is virtually no physical limit!
  • Relative to short-form content (news, opinion pieces), the nature of the medium leaves much more room for in-depth exploration of a topic and less room for noise and distraction.

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