Personal Growth

When you shouldn’t finish a book

July 8, 2013

Photo Credit: azrasta via Compfight cc

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how life is too important not to live fully engaged, fully alive, and fully motivated. This is the way to best live out our purpose and really be there for our loved ones.

One of the ways I stay fully engaged, fully alive, and fully motivated is by reading great books. Books will educate, inspire, and give you new ideas. Ideas that can change your life.

As I read more and more, I realize some books and authors resonate with me more than others. The ones that resonate with me are the ones that really get me going and generate the flow of ideas.

In the past, I aways thought I needed to finish each book I started. Even if it wasn’t one I really liked I had a self-imposed, limiting rule that I needed to finish it. If I didn’t follow that rule, I felt I was being noncommittal, even undependable.

I’d struggle through a book and find myself not reading as much because of it. During these times, I found I would loose my edge. I wasn’t spending time reading and taking in new, great content and because of this I was no longer energized like I wanted to be.

I’ve come to the realization that I don’t need to finish a book if it doesn’t resonate with me. There are lots of great books out there; I can go on to another one.

Life is too important to get hung up on self-imposed, limiting rules like always needing a to finish a book, even if it doesn’t resonate with you.

Take a look at your own life. Are you getting hung up on any self-imposed, limiting rules? If so, get rid of them so you can live fully engaged, fully alive, and fully motivated!

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  • Reply Raun Lauterbach July 8, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I generally agree with this idea. There have also been a few books that I just wasn’t feeling right from the start only to find that after I got to the second half of the book that the whole thing opened up to me. I’m not sure if you’ve read it, but “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin was one of those books. After reading the whole thing, I think it’s fabulous, but it took a while to get into it.

    • Reply Michael Good July 8, 2013 at 8:05 am


      I did read “Thou Shall Prosper” and it was actually similar for me. The beginning of it seemed a little more like a text book and wasn’t as “consumable” for me. However, this was one that I heard so many great things about so I stayed with it and was glad I did.

      Thanks for the insight.

      • Reply Jorge Silvestrini July 8, 2013 at 10:38 pm

        Funny… I just added the audiobook to my iPhone and I’m starting it tomorrow as I have my personal growth time in the morning and my drive to work!

  • Reply Donna Yates July 8, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I know what you mean but I too am like Raun. I’ve started a few books and it took me a while before they really took off for me and I was glad I finished them. There are those, though, that I put down within a few chapters as they just weren’t saying enough to hold me.

    • Reply Michael Good July 8, 2013 at 8:09 am


      I too have had books like that as well. The one Raun mentioned was one of them. I guess the only way to know if a book is going to get better is to skip ahead and find out. Haven’t done that too often, but may try it more. You got me thinking. Thanks!

  • Reply Jody Maberry July 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Reading this and thinking about not finishing a book makes me nervous. I may give this a try though and remove the stack of unfinished books from my nightstand.

    • Reply Jorge Silvestrini July 8, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Filter the noise Jody!

      • Reply Jody Maberry July 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        Thanks Jorge. You are right. It is noise.

    • Reply Michael Good July 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

      I like to think of it this way. There are tens of thousands on books available for us to read today. It would seem absurd to think that every single one we choose to pick up is going to be relavent to us, resonate with us, or even be good in the first place.

      Thanks for your input!

      • Reply Jody Maberry July 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        I like your perspective on this. I am looking forward to NOT reading a book and moving on to a better one.

  • Reply Ryan Ash July 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up, and releasing me from this burden! 🙂 I’ve always been this way, too, so I feel guilty (to some degree) for all the unfinished books I have lying around. I’ll be able to rest well tonight with this load of off my shoulders! Better yet, maybe I should just Ebay some books. 😉

    • Reply Michael Good July 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Hey Ryan,
      Yeah, move on. Life’s too short to be getting bogged down in books we’re not enjoying. 🙂 And there are so many great ones out there to yet read!

  • Reply Tom Dixon July 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I’ve recently rediscovered fiction also – something I had dismissed as for the ignorant and lazy. The truth is fiction is art and it is okay (even engaging & beneficial) to interact with it. As far as finishing, I think most authors make their point in the first 100 pages so I try to make it that far. If it isn’t working for me, I’ll read the last 50 pages as well. These two things will give you 90% of what the author has to say.

    • Reply Michael Good July 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Fiction doesn’t get a whole lot of love in the business or personal development worlds, but I agree that it definitely has its place. I love how authors like Andy Andrews and Brenden Burchard mix the two like they do. There’s power in story and that’s one thing fiction definitely has over nonfiction.

      I’m going to use your approach of reading the first 100 pages and the last 50 pages the next time I’m thinking of not finishing a book.

      Thanks for the input, Tom.

  • Reply Luke Roland July 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Reading is probably one of my favorite things to do. That being said I have never not finished a book…ever. I’m not sure what that means about me, lol! I’ve read bad books and have always pushed through. I honestly would have a hard time not finishing a book. I’m sure it is a freeing experience not finishing a book because it’s not good…maybe I will get there!

    • Reply Michael Good July 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Haha, love it, Luke. For a prolific reader like yourself, finishing every book might not be a bad thing. For me, it gets bad when it stalls my reading overall.

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