2 minute read

Today I finished reading a book for the first time in a couple of months. As a matter of fact - I barely did any reading in the past couple of months. That rarely happens to me, as I’m the type of person who’s constantly reading something. It seems that lately I’ve been having a “reader’s block” - I’ve had almost no desire to read anything. Over the past week I’ve been pondering on the subject and I think I figured it out.

In early December 2021 I was probably reading simultaneously around 5 books. That’s bad by itself, because I’ve noticed that when I start reading more than a couple of books at the same time I rarely make equal progress on each front. Typically 1-2 books are way more interesting to me than all the rest and I just focus my attention on them. This time, however, I wasn’t particularly engaged with any of the books in progress. A couple of them were just painful to read. So, what did I do? I just picked up more books to read!

I guess it’s clear that the simple course of action here is to just abandon those books that I didn’t like and move forward, but the problem is that I’m not the kind of person who starts something and doesn’t finish it.1 You have no idea how many boring books and movies I’ve powered through over the years. This has made me very selective when it comes to reading (and many other things for that matter), but no matter how much background work you’ve done you can always run into a book that you thought would be great, but you don’t enjoy at all.

Anyways, in the end of the day, my reader’s block is quite easy to explain:

  • Focus is key. Less is more. Remember the teachings of Kanban. If you’re doing too many things at the same time you’re not going to achieve optimal results. Note to self - limit books in progress to 2.2
  • Sunk cost fallacy, reader edition. In other words - perhaps the book will turn around if I invest into it 2-3 more hours. That rarely happens. And some books even get worse the further you progress with them.

Being aware of the issues and being able to address them - those are two completely different things, though. We’ll see how well will I do. For now I’m simply glad I’ve managed to deal a blow to my reader’s block. Keep reading!

  1. Okay, admittedly as I grew older I stopped applying this rule to bad TV shows. 

  2. I generally aim to read one fiction and one non-fiction book at the same time.