March 10, 2005

On reading and lack of time

In recent weeks, I’ve seen the size of my Amazon wishlist grow to immense proportions. Due to recommendations from bloggers and other authors it’s not odd to see it increase by 5–7 books each week. It’s incredibly easy to build up a shortlist of books and just as easy to instruct Amazon to present a nice package of them at your door step next business day.

Sadly, the time available to read said books appears to remain static. Time causes one’s stock of unread material to grow moderately, whilst you make little headway though the current book of choice. Academic work, together with a growing list of blogs to get though (thanks to Bloglines) doesn’t help matters. And that’s not to mention around 200 sites that have been deemed worthy of further reading over at (see this post ).

That there is so much scope for learning can only be a good thing. Expecting to have the time to take in everything that could potentially be useful is a recepie for madnesss. The issue of ‘information overload’ will only increase in importance as technology allows greater participation in discussions (e.g. though blogs) and as the costs of acquiring information fall. Still, ‘information overload’ may simply be a notion created to mask an inability to effectively prioritise and manage input.

Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." These words should encourage us all to find new ways of managing and taking advantage of the opportunities available to us regardless of the barriers that make the task that much more inconvenient.

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