Feb. 14, 2021

Pleasure vs Purpose Reading

Pleasure vs Purpose Reading

A few years ago, I spent two years diving into the Great Books. Fostered by onlinegreatbooks.com, once a month we would have seminar and discuss the philosophical things we were reading. I learned a lot about myself and others in this time, but over the two years I had ran up a pretty high reading fatigue. I found myself not able to enjoy any book I opened. I decided to step away from the pages, but continued to learn via audiobooks and podcasts.

I have read good research on the benefits of pleasure reading (as I define being something FUN to read that you enjoy without any expectations) but I found myself unable to focus on any fiction from genres I enjoy. I could not focus for more than a page without the thought creeping in that I was wasting time; I needed to be doing something that improves me as a person. This is still true today, and I do not believe it is necessarily a bad thing. I have found that I still get value from reading, but it has transformed to more practical self-help books (of the critical of self nature, not feel-good-you-are-awesome-and-don't-change type).  Fear is Fuel is a great example of this.

I am sure over time the pendulum will swing back to more pleasure reading, but for now I'll enjoy the reading that helps me define and realize purpose and intention in my life as it gives me the most value.

Have your reading interests changed over the years? Was this due to a conscious decision? Maybe as life changes the things we desire and receive value from also change.