Danielle Stanton

University Of Minnesota – Mathematics

Quit Reading

I’m working on quitting books I don’t enjoy.

This is not so easy.

Spring semester 2018 brought with it a long commute by car. I also have a long list of books to read. Presto chango, audiobooks entered into my life.

I have historically found audiobooks to be “cheating” and not REAL reading, so I avoided them. Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens changed that, it was delightful. I loved it so much I listened to Homo Deus too, then loved that so much I bought the real books and am currently almost finished reading reading Sapiens. Pick yourself up a copy if you’re so inclined.

Early on in my audiobook experiment I listened to Nassim Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness. At the beginning of the book he forcefully proclaimed (more or less), “I will not consult a library. I will only speak from my own brain. All these other writers that produce books that are just quote after quote? They suck.”

I found this very strange. What a peculiar pronouncement! You will not consult outside sources? How arrogant! (Taleb’s arrogance is part of his charm, however). But now that I have listened to and quit several nonfiction books that were little more than lit reviews of best seller lists, I appreciate Taleb’s policy. Today I quit Quiet. It’s getting easier. These glorified book reports ALL REFERENCE THE SAME DAMN BOOKS. I don’t understand how a writer can have the wherewithal to sit down and write and not put their own ideas into their work. Hey writers, I’m reading your book to find out what YOU think. Not what everybody else thinks, if I wanna know what they think, I’ll read their books. As Taleb might say, get some skin in the game. Or at the very least do us all a favor and stick your references in the endnotes.

Don’t read a book once that you wouldn’t read twice.

Books I quit reading this year:
Cosmos by Carl Sagan (already know all this stuff Carl)
Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Manson (he lost a fan with this one)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (I loathed this one so much I think I’m renouncing my introvert card)

Should’ve quit but didn’t:
Why Me Want Eat by Krista Scott Dixon (short, so I finished it)
Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins (also short)
The Willpower Instinct by McGonigal (still kicking myself about not quitting this one)

What books have you quit reading lately?

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1 Comment

  1. I hate to say “quit” but I have ceased looking at Jerry Coyne’s “Faith vs Fact” and, in spite of goodnelwriting, I lost interest in Elvis Costello’s “Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink.”

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