As Randy Pausch said, “Yes, you are going to have to change the plan. But you can’t change it, unless you have it”.
I like what @buster says about sharing resolutions “so that the information is “out there” and can’t be easily brushed away”, and doing his “rabbit rabbit” checkins in 2013 helped follow my resolutions over the year.
So here it is: in 2014, in addition to finishing the last 20 pages of The Organ from its Invention in the Hellenistic Period to the end of the Thirteenth Century, I plan to read or finish reading one book in each of the following categories:
- less serious
My concrete selection in the “serious” categories is:
- History: John King Fairbank’s The Great Chinese Revolution: this is a book which I started years ago but haven’t finished. But I find the history of China starting around 1800 fascinating, and the West is almost fully ignorant of it.
- Science: Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene: I purchased this book in 2007, read a few pages, and that was it.
- Philosophy: Daniel Dennett’s Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking: I read the sample chapter, which was pretty good.
- Biography: Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs: I even had this book on preorder when it came out and read one chapter. Time to finish it!
- Music: Possibly my friend Cesare Orselli’s Pietro Mascagni (in Italian, which makes it more of a challenge).
I plan to take notes for at least 3 of those books.
In the “less serious” category, I might decide to finish Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Terre des Hommes, of which I have read a few pages already. I don’t have picks for fiction and science-fiction/fantasy yet, but that shouldn’t be too challenging.
I am open to reading suggestions, and here are some additional candidates I have considered:
- Siddhartha Mukherjee - The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
- Richard Dawkins - An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist
- Steven Pinker - The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
This program is very ambitious given my past record. It is possible based on my experience with one book to read about 150 pages/month of a serious book while taking notes. Since the serious books have over 300 pages each, they might require more than 2 months each. So the schedule might be tight, even though I might find that some books read faster than others, and that I might not take notes for all books.
Finally, I do plan to checkin every month (the “rabbit rabbit” trick) on Twitter, mentioning two friends, and I have setup a double reminder to do this.