Why I’m Reading Only One Book This Year

Published by Stephen on

I live amid many hundreds of books; they are stacked and shelved and closeted all around me.

I think of each volume as a stout little ship freighted with ideas and experiences.   I do love my harbor full of a wild variety of these barques,  each one waiting for me to step aboard so it can take me somewhere magical and brilliant.

As 2016 lurched toward a close, I realized that I wanted 2017 to be a substantially different intellectual adventure. I yearned for something deeper and more impactful than the steady stream of online news, business consulting white papers, essays, and books I dabble with each day.

This year, I wanted to venture out to deeper, richer waters.  Then I recalled the line of Alfred North Whitehead’s,

“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

With this in mind,  I cleared the fleet piled on my night stand and I got out my copy of Plato’s Dialogues on New Year’s Day.

As I wend my way into the Dialogues, which I think of as conversations between the officers of ships in a sea of big questions, I am excited to see what I as an intellectual deckhand might learn about myself, the sea, and navigation. What are the philosophical questions that underpin our daily existence?  How can we think more clearly about them?

If I am diligent and lucky, I might internalize some of the thought processes as well.

“There is such magnificent vagueness in the expectations that had driven each of us to sea, such a glorious indefiniteness, such a beautiful greed of adventures that are their own and only reward!”

– Joseph Conrad in Lord Jim

Stay tuned for updates on the adventures to come.


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Categories: Wisdom