Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Why reading 100 books a year won’t make you successful (medium.com)
49 points by aytekin 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

Reading is input. To be successful, you have to produce output. If you spend too much time on input, there's not enough time for output.

It took me many years to build up the courage to go full time on my business. All the books I read gave me that confidence. I was thirsty for knowledge and reading other experiences made a difference for me. I had a rough guide about what was ahead.

At some point you need to stop reading and start executing. But, don’t feel bad about reading if you still haven’t filled you tank.

Depends on how you measure success. I'm not sure output is all it's cracked up to be.

also, even without creating output or taking action in the world reading alone does not suffice to learn. New ideas have to be pondered, developed and connected. Connecting what you already know with what some information stream tells you and carrying the lines of thought further is the valuable part. This is the central crux of speed reading, the ability to think is the bottleneck, not the parsing of text.

I think speed reading is a great skill but rather for reading articles when I need to learn something quickly or find specific information - then "scanning" the text is useful.

For books? Come on... Just dedicate some quality time daily and choose a book wisely.

I agree with the title but highly disagree with much of this article.

Speed reading does work well, but you have to deliberately practice comprehension. I've read well over a million words in the last month. Fiction and history books are especially wordy, but are worth reading fast. Ever read Stephen King? He's got some excellent ideas, but you have to just slog through the descriptions. I'm grateful I can speed read as it makes the book more like a story that flows.

But in general, the really good books are very hard to read, because the ideas are hard to grasp. Going for X books a year means you end up selecting "easy" (and thus, less impactful) books.

I don't think the objective of reading books is to be successful.

This has the same problem as "going to college won't get you a high paying job".

My problem is that I stick with a bad book for too long. I keep thinking there'll be more 'good' parts, but it's lost time.

I'd probably benefit from reading fewer books, but sticking with quality material.

it took me a long time time to reach the level of maturity as a reader to say "enough is enough" and dropping books a couple of hours in. "starting what you finish" at any price is a waste. Life is too short for bad books.

Reading doesn't make anyone successful. Working does. Reading improves your knowledge if you read the right stuff. Working and applying what you read improves your odds.

Reading for reading's sake is entertainment. You have to actively put what you learn into action for the knowledge to be effective in your life. You can't do that when you read 2 books a week.

The other problem is what you read; if you’re reading 2 books a week... you’re probably not reading very good books, if only because it would be difficult to maintain a backlog of good stuff at that pace. You normally build a library of hundreds of books over a decade, and a thousand books in a lifetime is impressive.

I wouldn’t be surprised if most people reading at this pace have a library similar to barnes and noble, with perhaps the cult classics of their field. But I can’t imagine their actually committing to much research in each subject area, and thus, not much depth

Given that many people don't read in the first place, I'd be very happy having people reading a library similar to Barnes and Noble, and I think this attitude discourages reading overall. People generally get into reading by finding things they like first.

I think this falls into an optimization fallacy, where you are trying to optimize for some faraway conclusion like success and miss the forest for the trees. Reading, even a fun novel, is very beneficial.

Sure, but reading 100 books by michael crichton doesn’t offer much value beyond the first.

My point is that both quality and quantity are important (and diminishing returns apply). The speedreaders described in the article Im assuming have focused primarily on quantity, leading to the lack of value derived.

Felix Dennis called these sort of cargo-cultings "point-at-the-sky guide to success." If the billionaire points at the sky, clearly that's really, really important. sarcasm ;)

He could have written too : "Why reading 1 article a day on medium won't make you successful".

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact