Do you feel obligated to finish all books you start reading?

Do you feel obligated to finish all books you start reading?

Posted on August 22, 2011

Do you feel obligated to finish all books you start reading?

I sometimes used to get into a reading rut whenever a book was boring. There are two issues with a boring book. One issue is that it does not engage you and so you cannot read it faster. The second issue is that the book does not draw you towards it and so you don’t pick up the book as frequently as you would do if a book was interesting. All the unread books sitting on your desk, your “pile of shame”, keeps on increasing while you struggle with a boring book. It used to happen to me all the time but not any more.

But the book that changed my attitude of not letting go was “Hot, flat and crowded” by Thomas Friedman. Even though I got this book from the library, I still felt obligated to complete this book cover to cover. This was a voluminous book and the author kept on giving so many examples that I had to finally let go. This book turned things for me. You can read my full review of this book at

That was 2 years back. Since then I have learnt to let go a not-so-interesting book. There are so many good books out there that there is no purpose wasting time on one that does not grab my attention in the first few pages or chapters. Sometimes, it may be easier to let go if the book is borrowed but not so easy if you bought that book. In that case, get that book swapped at As you probably know by now, someone’s trash could be someone else’s treasure.

Sometimes, you need to grind your teeth and get through a book if you realize the value

of it.  This happened to me with Peter Senge’s “The Fifth Discipline”. Normally I take a week or max 2 weeks to finish a book but this one took me 3 months. This book was very good and had many insights.  So, it made sense sticking with it for 3 months even when my pile of shame was growing. I am glad I finished this book. Link to my review on

So, bottom line you need to decide the worth of a book before letting go. Let go of a boring and worthless book. It is no big deal. There is not enough time in the world to read all the good stuff and so why waste any on boring stuff.

I guess the same applies for a movie or a TV show.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you still feel obligated to finish all books, movies or TV shows that you start?

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