934 (Mostly) Kindle Wish List Books

Sharing and thinking about books yet unread.

November 17, 2014

What should we make of these 934 Kindle books in my Wish List?  What questions can we ask about this list? What books on this list have you read and would you recommend?  How do our book Wish List’s overlap?  How many books in your Wish List?  Is your Wish List like my Wish List, dominated by e-books?  Would you be willing to share your Wish List with our IHE community?

The ability to easily share this sort of list is something new.  The abundance of digital space makes the length of the list meaningless.  The ability to copy and past this list from Amazon makes its construction simple and fast.  The ecosystem of the smart phone and the Amazon app encourages adding books to the list.  The fact that books in this list are links makes it more likely that you will add them to your Wish List.

I’m not quite sure if I should be depressed or heartened by the 934 books in this Wish List.  

On the depressing side, the reality is that I’ll end up reading very few of these books.  The book that I’m most likely to read is the book that you are also reading.  Amazon changed the economics of book reading with Kindle e-books, as there is no longer a price advantage in waiting for the paperback.  Whatever our concerns about Amazon’s monopoly e-book power, (and we should all have plenty of concerns), we can’t deny the price dividend that book consumers now enjoy.   Best case scenario is that I’ll ever read 10 percent of these books.  That is depressing.

On the positive side, this Book List is a map of potential learning.   I can look at this Wish List and get a better understand of the questions that I ask.  Where I’m curious and where I’m in-curious.  The scarcity around reading today is time.  Nothing is cheaper in per-hour units than buying and reading books.   A $15 book takes maybe 5 hours to read with our eyes, perhaps 8 or 9 hours to read with our ears.   Even for fast readers books only cost us $3 an hour.   

I’ve mostly given up on the idea that the books that I read will help me to be a better person.  This is not the fault of the books.  I read the wrong books.  If I read more fiction than I’d be a better husband, dad, son, brother, and colleague.  But mostly I read nonfiction.  I read nonfiction because the world confuses me.  I want to understand why some people are so rich and so many more are so poor?  How your college and mine works, and how we can make it better?  Why we make the bad decisions that seem to define so much of our behavior.  How the material, social, and economic world that we live in came into being.  How people learn?  And what the future for my kids might look like?   

The answers to all these questions may not be found in the books below, but I wouldn’t know where else to look.  Books seem like our best bet to make sense of our lives.  

What’s on your Wish List?

What are you reading?


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