Why You Shouldn’t Read a Book Just to Finish It

Have you ever finished reading a book and then immediately forgot absolutely everything you just read? I think there’s a good reason for that, and I’m going to share it with you because I believe that it applies to more than just myself.

I’ve realized that when I read a book simply to finish it – which is often the case – I remember either very little or none of the content whatsoever. I’m in such a hurry to reach the end of the book and

“complete the task” (I’m one of those types of people) that I forget to, you know… actually take something away from it. I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between reading a book for the sake of reaching the end and reading a book to either learn something from it or enjoy the story. It’s a bit of common sense that, to me, was not so common.

If you’re the type of person who obsesses over creating lists and then completing all the tasks on said lists as quickly and efficiently as possible, perhaps it’s worth considering how this personality trait affects other aspects of your life. Doing something fast doesn’t always mean that it’s done well, and sometimes taking longer is well worth the additional time investment.

When it comes to learning or even enjoying the story of a book, take your time and actually take something away from it. Otherwise, why read the book in the first place? You probably won’t remember a thing.




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Chad is the co-founder of Unfinished Man, a leading men's lifestyle site. He provides straightforward advice on fashion, tech, and relationships based on his own experiences and product tests. Chad's relaxed flair makes him the site's accessible expert for savvy young professionals seeking trustworthy recommendations on living well.

2 comments on “Why You Shouldn’t Read a Book Just to Finish It”

  1. Agreed. Our time is limited, so why not focus on well-developed ideas and writing. If a book starts dragging, I’ll start skimming and if it doesn’t get better, it doesn’t get finished.

    Also, the internet has trained me to read very short sentences, so that could be the other problem…He he.

    • Absolutely, there are simply some books not worth finishing. I didn’t really elaborate on this aspect of book learning (or pleasure reading), but perhaps it’s worth mentioning that I make an active effort to stop reading books once I feel that they’re crappy or uninteresting. I used to finish them for the sake of “checking them off my list”, and eventually realized how silly that is.


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