“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”

—Sir Francis Bacon, 16th Century Lord Chancellor of England

Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalog

I have a math problem for you on the subject of books. According to Google’s advanced algorithms, about 130 million books have been published in all of modern history.

Consider multiplying 130 million by the number of hours it takes you to read an average book, giving your reading speed. To keep it simple, let’s assume it takes you ten hours. Multiply 130 million by ten and you see that it would take you one billion, three hundred thousand hours to read all the books published in modern history.

Now let’s pretend you began reading at birth, and that, given advanced medical breakthroughs, you live to be 100.

If my math is correct, it would take 876,000 lifetimes to read them all – far more if you took time to sleep, work, eat, or do anything other than read.


As you examine your book tasting efforts, which new books, or perhaps a few oldies but goodies, are worth your valuable time in the years ahead?