Is it common to not finish reading a non-fiction book?

Ever since I started work, I’ve always preferred non-fiction books over fiction books. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case when I was young. I enjoyed reading fiction books such as Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton. I guess it makes sense when you were young, you were just curious and didn’t mind being immersed in stories which are not real. But as I grew older, I remember since I started secondary school, all I want to read was my text books or anything that’s related to what I need to know to excel in exams. I was kiasu and nerd like that. Little did I know, I got carried away and I never turned back to fiction books since. Even more so since I started work, I cannot imagine myself reading fiction books. All the books I read have connection to my work now and in the future and of course my life as a mother (the kind of books I’ve started reading too so that I become a better mother). The bottom line is, I’ve always wanted to be better at what I do by acquiring knowledge from books.

But I’ve always had this problem of not being able to read 100% of the non-fiction books. I find that sometimes it’s too dry or that most of the time, I would have had the gist of it just by reading the first few chapters. It bugs me that I read so many books but didn’t finish reading it that early this year, I made a pact to myself to finish reading a book every quarter. You can read about my reading journey here, and here. So far I’ve done 3, well ahead of target and it felt good, like having a sense of accomplishment. Now I’m on my 4th book but been flipping in between 3 other books. It’s not easy but I try to squeeze any intermittent free time that I have every day.

Anyway, to the point of this post, is it common to not finish reading non-fiction books? I stumbled upon one of Union Square Venture’s employee’s blog, Bethany Crystaland I have a sense that she’s on the same boat as me based on her post “the business book version of Harry Potter”. Most of the time, she could only read 40-60% of a business book because she thinks business books are not telling stories the right way, unlike Harry Potter books whereby people were willing to read cover to cover all the 7 books. She thinks business books should be giving advice, which they do and in fact the reason why people like her and me choose business/non-fiction books over fiction books, but not the right way. Like I’ve said many times, you get the gist of a business book just by reading the first few chapters, the remaining chapters tend to be too detailed or it’s repetitive.

I guess it feels good to know that I’m not alone here. But nevertheless, let’s strive to finish all the books we’ve started reading ok? And by finishing I mean it’s ok to skip a few pages 😉

So tell me, is this common?

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