Many people think that once we buy a book, we should finish reading it. When we can’t, we feel kind of guilty. And that unfinished task would stay in our mind for a long time. This is called sunk cost fallacy, which means your decisions are based on previously invested resources. The more you invest in something, the harder it is to quit it.
But think about it, if you pre-pay 1,000 dollar to dine at a restaurant, while it serves you a dish with a number of insects in it, would you stay or leave?
Likewise when you get a crappy book, or a book that just doesn’t suit you, what’s the point of holding on to it?
So how to decide if a book is worth reading or not? “The Rule of Fifty” might help you.
The Rule of Fifty
The concept of this rule has been taken from a book by Nancy Pearl called Booklust. As per the rule, time is limited while books are uncountable. Life is too short to read books that you don’t feel a connection with.
This rule states that if you’re under the age of 50, you should read the first fifty pages of the book before you decide either to complete it or quit reading it. For chronic bookworms, reading 50 pages is a matter of an hour. In this way, you become well aware of what the book is really about. If it interests you after finishing fifty pages, you can choose to go on. Otherwise, you can gladly dump it. It saves a considerable amount of time and also excuses your brain from storing useless information.
If you are above 50 years of age, the rule differs from you since time gets even shorter. Subtract your current age from 100 and the result value will be the number of pages you should read before deciding on the book. For example, if you’re 54 years old, just read 46 (100-54) pages to decide if you should continue reading or quit it.
Within the span of 50 pages, everything like the key message would become quite evident.
If you don’t want to waste your money buying a book and only to find it crappy afterwards, or you don’t want to stand in a book store for an hour, you may use Amazon which many books offer free samples. The free samples would be sent to your device with a click. Around 10% of the book would be shown as free sample.
Featured photo credit: The Daily Beast via thedailybeast.com
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