"The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates vistors into two categories: those who react with ‘Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?’ and others - a very small minority- who get the point that a private library is not an ego boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real estate market allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call the collection of unread books an antilibrary."I'd like to pose a question to those who read this blog entry: What are three to five books on your shelf that lay unread and what knowledge do you hope to retrieve from them?
I'm having a gander at the moment through my bookshelves, there are lots. I'll choose some at random.
- Ill-Gotten Gains: Evasion, Blackmail, Fraud, and Kindred puzzles of the Law by Leo Katz.
- From this book I wanted to know about how lawyers find loopholes in laws.
- The Buddha in the Robot: A robot Engineer's thoughts on Science and Religion by Masahiro Mori.
- The author of this book claims that Robots have the buddha-nature, which is quite interesting and I wanted to find out if AI or robots could have a form of what we called religion.
- Reinventing the Bazaar: A natural history of markets by John McMillan.
- I saw this on a Cosma Shalizi book list on markets. It looked interesting and I wanted to learn about markets.
- Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century by Eric Wolf.
- I bought this in a military bookstore at a time I wanted to learn about different areas of guerrilla and small wars.
- Telling Lies: Clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics and marriage by Paul Ekman
- Lately I've been interested in deception. Ekman is considered one of the best psychological researchers on lying and deception.
Ortho (Ortho responds here.)
Zenpundit (Zen has responded here. He has chosen some interesting books and bloggers to tag!)
Update: To keep with the spirit of the quoted paragraph I've added why I bought those books and what I had hope to learn.
Other links updates
Younghusband of Coming Anarchy puts a great spin on the post: A traveller's antilibrary and virtual antilibraries. Great thinking. My virtual antilbrary on my Amazon wishlists would definitely outnumber the real antilibrary as everytime I see an interesting book around the net I add it to Amazon (although I always forget to take books I buy, or lend from the library, off the lists).
As does Phil from Amicable Collisions.