Sunday, 4 June 2017

Challenge Accepted: How to Read 6500 Pages in a Summer

Off-handedly I started writing down the books and articles I wanted to read over the summer. The ones I still haven't finished, of course (Mokyr, McCloskey, Dekker, Eichengreen), some interesting reading for a couple of the side-projects I'm doing this summer (Vienna, de Soto on 1844 and Goodspeed), as well as the rest of my Adore List. After a few days, this pretty list of mine grew rather large, and I wondered if I even could finish it. A few minutes before lunch, I started counting the total number of pages to find out if the target was even remotely feasible.

My reading list amounts to some 4100 pages in total. Then I still have some 500 pages left of Hülsmann and 700 pages left of Mises. Add another 1200 pages selective reading for my research, for a total of 6500 pages. I have about 63 days left of the fellowship, and another month-and-a half with no plans but travelling or family face-time. If I wanna do all this reading before I leave Auburn in August, I have to average about 105 pages a day. If I allow myself the "month-and-a-half" as well, I have to average about 62 pages a day.

So, target for the summer is neatly established: anywhere between 62-105 pages a day. Every day  no exceptions. Challenge bloody accepted. I'll try to record most of my daily reading to actually hold myself to this target and follow up on the challenge  also, a great way to motivate myself. Let's just say that certain people at the Mises Institute are much better/faster readers than I am, and they probably finish my daily reading before breakfast. Well, well, we can't all be geniuses.

Thursday: something like 110 pages, spread out across a few chapters of Human Action, Mises' rather awful The Historical Setting of the Austrian School, and a Hayek essay on interwar Vienna. Mission accomplished. 

Friday: 25 pages of Human Action; a short 8-page Rothbard article about the Entrepreneur-dispute with Kirzner; 30 pages of Hülsmann's Last Knight of Liberalism before I fell asleep. Total: 63 pages. Just about made it. Although to my defense, I wrote a blog post, argued with people over facebook and read the best articles of the UK Election edition of The Economist. Overall, a rather unproductive day. 

Saturday: The best chapter of Human Action (Number 15, 'The Market'). 30 pages before lunch. Another 50 pages in Hülsmann's Last Knight of Liberalism  just barely making my target. Also spent quite a few hours buying flights (nightmare), chill/chat with people and going to Yoga.

Sunday: 40 pages in Hülsmann over breakfast and another 21 pages of Mises at the office. I better do some more reading after the social tonight.

The trend this far, of numbers very close to the lower target is not a good sign. I hope to shape it up during the weeks to come. Tomorrow, however, Rothbard Graduate Seminar begins at the Institute, with tons of discussions and several writing commitments due. I'm fairly sure the reading target will be difficult to meet. We'll see.

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