Why YOU can’t read anymore. Many of us are doing just fine

Steven Chabot on 2015-04-27

Perhaps the problem isn’t your dopamine at all. Perhaps the problem is the motivation behind your reading.

And once you’ve finished one chapter, you have to get through the another one. And usually a whole bunch more, before you can say finished, and get to the next. The next book. The next thing. The next possibility. Next next next.

Many of us get through our daily lives quite fine reading Twitter and articles and watching television programs and can finish two books a week.

The question is why are we doing those things? Do we follow everyone on Twitter, or people that bring us value? Do we read every article, or those that enlarge our worldview? Do we we watch every television show, or those that further illuminate the human condition?

What you’ve said could easily be applied to your reading habits. To have a stack of books by the bed and say, “Last year I only read four of these. This year no Twitter and no TV until I’ve upped my book reading stats” just follows the same trap as your digital self-flagellation.

You praise books as if there were an essential morality to them. Read fifty-two pseudo-psychological business books, or four from Shakespeare, Plato, Joyce, and Melville. Whose year was better spent? In this case I think the message is the message, not the medium. The New Yorker and the Atlantic, Mad Men and Breaking Bad aren’t inherently bad because they aren’t “books.”