On Reading

On Reading

January 26th, 2023  |  Published in Books, Personal

It sounds cheesy, but this video has significantly affected my life. It’s primarily about bookstores and wanting to read more. I came across it on the Daily Stoic Read To Lead course during the lockdown, as I had been highly interested in getting away from the time suck and misinformation from social media. Watch here:

So in the video, Max states the following tidbit about his reading habits: he reads one book a year for pleasure.

From here, Tim points out that at that rate, given how long his grandparents lived, he will probably read about 55 more books. And that’s it.

But, to put it another way, he reads for about 1.64 minutes daily.

Taking Stock

In this thought experiment, Tim wanted to show Max roughly how fast he read and what that means in the larger context. The first step is to get a sense of how fast he reads.

Max read 1550 words in six minutes twenty-seven seconds, and from this, Tim could determine the following.

1550 words in 6:27 (or 397 seconds)
3.78 words a second
227 words/min
11,350 words/hour

There are, for the sake of argument, 350 pages in a book.

350 pages/book
113,750 words/book
This means Max can read a book in about 10 hours.

What happens if we change the time allotted per day?

Tim points out that instead of the 1.64 minutes a day, what would happen if he gave himself 30 minutes a day?

30 min/day * 30.4 days a month = 912 min/month (15.2 hours/month)

1.5 books a month or 18.24 books a year.

If we take this value times the 55 years left for Max he will have read…

1,003.2 books before he dies.

Time [Social Media & Phone Apps]

Tim then tries to understand how much time he spends on social media, news, and other time wasters. Max states he spends about 50 minutes daily on news and social media.

This equation would give us the following:

50 min/day * 30.4 days a month = 1520min/month (25.3 hours/month)

2.53 books a month or 30.36 books a year.

Or added together 48.6 books a year.

You Are Largely Responsible / Reclaiming Time

One thing that motivated me was that this was coming after the Trump administration and COVID misinformation, and I was acutely aware that social media and the news were depressing.

Carl Sagan

We are, each of us, largely responsible for what gets put into our brains, for what, as adults, we wind up caring for and knowing about. – Carl Sagan

I would think about this quote and its implications, and the first step was to remove Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps from my phone. And replace it with reading books.

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