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Your Unread Books Have More Value Than Those You've Read

Kevin Dickinson loves to go to the bookstore to check a price. However, he ends up walking out of the bookstore with three books that he “probably didn’t know existed beforehand.”

I buy second-hand books by the bagful at the Friends of the Library sale, while explaining to my wife that it's for a good cause. Even the smell of books grips me, that faint aroma of earthy vanilla that wafts up at you when you flip a page.

The problem is that his book-buying habit outpaces his ability to read them, which leads to FOMO and occasional feeling of guilt over the large amount of unread books across his shelves.

But it's possible this guilt is entirely misplaced. According to statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb, these unread volumes represent what he calls an "antilibrary," and he believes our antilibraries aren't signs of intellectual failings. Quite the opposite.

More about this over at Big Think.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Pixabay)


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I too have a lot of books on many bookshelves. A long time back I came across one I had forgotten about and not read. This led to the creation of a bookshelf entirely for unread books. Which led not to FOMO (or guilt), but to stress from not reading all the books accumulating on that shelf. For me, learning is just a byproduct from the pleasure/enjoyment I get from reading a good book. I'm long over the stress part, but still buying, albeit more selectively. And I try to stay away from our annual "Friends of the Library" sale. I'm out of space. I also don't like the term antilibrary. Too much of a negative connotation in my mind.
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I used to walk into a bookstore or library and think, "Look at all the books I might one day read!" Now I think, "Look at all the books I'm never going to read in the brief time before death robs me of whatever minuscule knowledge I have already obtained!"
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