Umberto Eco’s unread books

I should keep a printed version of this quote near my personal library and give it to every one who asks me how many of the books on my shelves I’ve read. I tend to buy roughly two to three times as much books as I read, which equals 120 to 180 books per annum. Impact on my personal finances? In 2016 I’ve spend 15.8 pct of my income on books.

“The writer Umberro Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have. How many of these books have you read?” and the others—a very small minority—who get the point is that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendages but a research tool. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means … allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at your menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an anti-library.”

(Source: The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, p 1)

 

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