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Library space

I'm visiting my home in Bangalore this week. I was looking at the book collection I've built up here and it is all books that I've read.

Until recently, I used to buy books on an as-needed basis, meaning I would only buy the 3-5 books that I would read next. Invariably, this would bias me towards buying new releases and I would not follow through on several book recommendations even when I wanted to. I would tell myself that there is no more room now and that I can buy them the next time, only the next time would be the same.

So, back in June, I decided to turn things around a bit and immediately add to cart any good book I come across, either as a recommendation or otherwise. The moment the cart crosses five items, I'd place the order. New releases are included in this too.

As a result, I've built up a collection of over thirty books that I haven't yet read, and the collection is growing much faster than I can actually read.

With this change, I've postponed the decision of what to read next to the time I'm actually about to pick up a book to read from the time of the purchase.

In the previous way, I would buy 3-5 books at the start of a month and then aim to read them over the rest of the month. But now, I buy books all the time and decide which one to read among them when I'm about to decide what to read next. As a result, I have books that I bought in June that I haven't yet read and I have books that I bought last week that I've read.

But what this has started to do is to transform the collection of books I have from predominantly ones I have read to a good mix of what I've read and what I haven't.

When I was discussing this with a friend, he was telling me that it is better to have a library full of books you haven't read than a library full of books you have read.

Even in life, we end up defining ourselves more based on the things we have done in the past - the jobs we have had, the people we have interacted with, the experiences we have had - than on the things we are setting out to do in the future.

While we are what we are today based on what we have done in the past, we will only get to where we want to be by focusing on what's ahead and giving that more mind share.

And library space.

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