As I have been planning my year, I’ve reflected about how little I actually need to enjoy life, particularly as it applies to my library. I love books but I estimate that I presently own more than one thousand volumes, half of which I’ve never read and a quarter of which I’ll likely never read. With that said, I have made it my regular practice to clear out books in the latter category to make room for ones in the former and to create space for new acquisitions rather than buy more bookshelves.
Alas, with the big annual used book sale coming to my hometown this weekend, I am challenged to discipline myself anew. But what I’ve actually been considering lately is drastically reducing the number of volumes in my library so that virtually all the books I own are ones that I’ve either read or realistically plan to read in the foreseeable future.
Regarding my philosophy of “less is more,” I recently read a relevant posting by Richard Watson on the Fast Company Blog: “One of the key challenges for the twenty-first century will be how to cope with the almost infinite amount of information that will be produced. According to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, one of the most valuable skills in the future will thus be the ability to select and synthesize information. This in turn means the ability to develop criteria for filtering what’s valuable and what’s not will become highly prized.”