Insights into Personal Reading Habits

I've known about the Feltron Annual Reports for a number of years now, but I've never given it much thought. It never occurred to me how a report of my year would affect me. Would such a thing aid my decisions, or would I be subjected to its authority? Nicholas Felton is probably the only person who knows, but, for a moment, let's consider what could be gained through an in-depth analysis of our mundane and every day. For the brief purposes of this tackk, I'll be considering his self-examination of reading habits in the annual reports 2006 and 2007.

Generally, I feel compelled to read. I feel compelled because I want to know more about a subject, but I also feel compelled because I don't want to seem ignorant on subjects that I should be informed. Learning is a marathon, not a race, and shouldn't be run faster than one can manage; however, when in an academic setting, it's hard not to judge oneself against peers. Felton measures not only how many books or magazines he's read, but also metrics such as publication date, weight of magazines, and genre. If I were to know the metrics of my reading habits, I'm not sure if I'd like the outcome.

I can imagine two scenarios. Either the numbers reinforce a sense of accomplishment through a reflection of what I've learned over a year, or the numbers become a tool for a self-critical analysis that birth feelings of inadequacy. The latter is probably more likely.

The numbers would link my reading habits, a practice to be enjoyed, to arbitrary metrics that pressures adherence. I can only speak for myself, but adherence to such constraints is not what I'd consider a healthy learning experience. Instead of enjoying reading, I'd be following what I'd perceive to be the 'right' way to read, and such conceptions are something I typically try to avoid.

I think it's best if I avoid a quantification of my life. Maybe it's best for some people, but I know I'd become a slave to my own expectations.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

ah, so your sense is that the numbers could become a harsh judgment -- and that a more holistic sense of what you are accomplishing would provide a more stable substantive sense of the value of what you've undertaken. I wonder if setting qualitative goals would feel similar or different -- say, challenging onself to read a certain kind of book one wouldn't necessarily, or to read a book and write to the author, etc. -- to evaluating onself against a quantitative metric. thanks for the reflections!