Why you should have more books in your library than you can potentially read

2 years ago, I looked at my library and new books were nearly non-existent. It has been a while since I bought new books. So I decided I was going to take a large chunk of money to fill my library. I budgeted N100,000. I was on a trip and made a stop in OAU Ile-Ife, my alma mater, where I was sure my budget will get well utilised.

As I picked one book after the other, I ended up spending only 70% of my budget. But that meant a lot of books to carry back to Lagos. I was happy about the books and my library looked full once I arranged all the books in it. But is the essence of a library just to look full? I am sure you will agree with me that the answer to that is no.

The books I bought from my N100K budget

Before I left Nigeria, I am not sure if I read up to 25% of the books. I am in the UK now and once again, I have started collecting books. Stacking up my libraries again with books on different topics and genres. Will I read them all? I don’t know.

Growing picture of books in my UK collection

But something usually happens when you have more books in your library than you can possibly read. One, you are never in lack of what to read. You can only be in lack of motivation or time to read them. And that removes an important impediment to reading for anyone who practices this.

A few years ago I used to go all out to encourage people to read. One of the frequent questions I get is what should they read? Well, if you have more books than you can possibly read, then that is no longer a question.

Another benefit of having more books than you can read is that you are able to pick any topic that meets your immediate need. Recently, I wanted to learn more about how to harness the power of the mind. I have about 5 books answering the question in a different manner. I picked one of them that happened to be highly recommended. Unfortunately, as I typed I am still on it, not yet finished. Fortunately, I have more than one. So I picked another that was gifted to me. I finished that one within 3 days and it addressed my needs exactly as it fits me. 100%. I was so grateful.

Now here’s the most important reason in my opinion. Occasionally, you can stumble on a book (existing within your library) that will alter the cause of your life for good. Out of interest to find the next good read, you could potentially pick one from your library. And what you read from it (and it doesn’t matter whether you read all or not) can be the reason why your life changed for good. I say this because I have experienced this kind of thing in my life in a far too significant way to discount it.

Having more books in your library than you can possibly read is like having more food in your storehouse than you can possibly eat. There’s wisdom in that. It means you don’t have to go shopping whenever you need to eat, it means you can have any mixture of food anytime you need it and it means you could eat whatever gives you maximum health per time.

That’s why I encourage everyone to have more books available to them to read than they can possibly read at any moment.