I hope long time readers are asking, “What?!”
Five years ago, in my fifth post on this blog, I wrote “Less, please,” which founded one of my most fundamental practices, one I recommend to everyone. That post described reducing my wall of books to about ten, learning about my values and discovering freedom where I used to feel weighed down. I’ve since gotten rid of more books and more other stuff, finding yet more freedom and learning more about my values.
I still read a lot of books, maybe two a month. I just don’t value possessing the material product. I have a public library across the street from me I can have books delivered to. I have two books (on social entrepreneurship) on my desk now. For that matter, books just end up with you despite your determination to resist them. I have a best-selling leadership book I saw going into a recycling bin and took to read.
The other day I bought two books. Did I forget my values?
On Sixth Avenue, a couple blocks from home, I saw a street vendor selling a used copy of Getting To Yes, the book I recommend more than any other. I used to give it to friends and colleagues so often I stopped buying copies. Then I saw he had a second copy.
So I picked up one copy, walked over to the guy and asked “How much?”
He said, “Three dollars.”
I said, “How about two for five?”
He looked at me like I got a good deal out of him he couldn’t say no to. He said, “Deal.” And I bought them.
There’s something satisfying about negotiating for a book on negotiation, creating an option for mutual gain.
Anyway, I knew I would eventually give away the books to people who would value possessing them, or, I hope, reading them and then passing them on to someone else.
So for a brief time I’ll hold on to them, until I can unload them on someone else who will appreciate the book and me.
If you haven’t made a point of avoiding accumulating stuff, I recommend reading Less, please.
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