The reading for the Well-Read Man Project begins today. By the time you scan this sentence, I will already have several pages of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War under my belt, as painful as that sounds.
The image to the right shows the books (or all but four of them that hadn’t arrived from the library yet) in all their four-foot-high glory. When I see a screenshot of the book covers on my iPad, it doesn’t seem that intimidating. But having seen them in person, I can now say that four feet of tree pulp is very intimidating.
Over the course of the entire project, I will read 15,309 pages of core content. That certainly sounds impressive, much more impressive than saying that I’ll read 42 pages per day. I’m not a very fast reader, but 42 pages each day seems like a brisk yet comfortable pace. Beyond this core stack, I will also read the notes and introductions for each book (when available), some supporting materials and web sites that provide additional background information, and your comments. As I document my progress several times each week, be sure to add your own voice to the conversation by responding to the posts.
When I tell people I meet that I will be reading fifty of the most important books in history over the course of a year, most of them simply say, “Oh” or “Wow.” But I’ve been pleasantly surprised that a few have said, “I should read along with you.” I didn’t introduce them to the project as a challenge, but it was refreshing to see them consider it that way. It’s unlikely that any of them will move through the entire collection, but it will still be a joy knowing that I will have some camaraderie for most or all of the books.
And so I issue this challenge to you, too. If you have the time and the interest, join in on the reading. For some of you fast readers out there, 42 pages of day is a walk in the park. The list of books is available here, and most of them are available online, many of them for free. By reading along, you will not just enjoy the musings of a random person on the Internet; you will experience Well-Readness for yourself.
[Image Credits: flickr.com/Steven Depolo]