The Reading Club: Reading to hit an arbitrary number
This post expands upon 10 unconventional rules and tips for reading. Click on the tag down below to read all my work on reading.
Hitting an arbitrary number of books.
I find subreddit r/52books pointless. The number of books you read does not mean anything. Except you use the subreddit to get new book recommendations.
The reason I read books is because of these two reasons,
To learn a subject that interests me.
Getting into Flow state.
Understanding the world.
Learning from the dead. (I have made a video essay on it).
Now if I try to re-read books, then it would make me less able to reach 52 books a year goal. And hence should I consider the year was a failure?
(Some could argue that you can count re-read the book as a new book. But when I re-read a book, I read it while taking notes from it. So it will take me more time to read that book.)
You should not add any resistance to the books you read.
Now if War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy took me 3 months to complete, does that means I should now read small books so that I could hit that 52 books?
Setting goals are important but it's more important that you set correct goals that really measure what you want to measure.
There is a concept of Vanity Metrics, measuring those metrics which does not result in anything. This table by CrazyEgg website differentiates between Vanity Metric and Actionable Metric.
For example, if you own a local business and doing Instagram marketing, then the number of likes you get on your photos does not result in anything. But the number of clicks you get on your map location does count (if you want them to come here physically).
I consider setting a goal to read a number of the book is a vanity metric that has no use other than to flaunt by external social goals.
80/20 Rule of Books.
Reading hard books takes time (even though you may be thinking you won't read hard books, but you will start to carve them), and setting these arbitrary numbers to hit discourages you to lose track of time in a book for a long time.
Reading a book in-depth is better than reading 10 books fast. So find those books which are hard-hitting for you.
Usually, those hard-hitting books follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the books you read will be crap. 20% shall be those that will make the most impact on your life. And you better take amazing notes from those 20% books.