Friday, April 15, 2011

Information Overload

I'm reading this wonderfully informative book called Margin by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. He not only tells us how busy our century is, he tells us why and how to fix it. It's been a real eye-opener for me.

Here's a section from the chapter called The Pain of Overload: Ninety-nine percent of American homes have television, with the average set turned on fifty-five hours a week. Televised news is 24/7. We buy more books per capita than ever before and can choose from 63,000 new titles every year. How does one read a three-and-one-half-inch thick Sunday paper?

A single edition of the New York Times contains more information than a seventeenth-century Britisher would encounter in a lifetime. If I read two health articles every day, next year I would be eight centuries behind in my reading. We are buried by data on a daily basis.

Astonishing, isn't it? Instead of feeling frustrated, I actually feel freer, because there's no way anyone could read every new book that's printed each year. I've actually felt panicky before because I wanted to and knew I couldn't.

So I'm just going to read at my own pace, enjoy what I'm reading or put it down, relax, and enjoy life. The part about how much a seventeenth-century Britisher read in a lifetime kind of puts it in perspective, doesn't it? There will definitely be more quotes from this book.


GretchenJoanna said...

That book was foundational for me when I read it in the midst of my childraising, homeschooling years. I give Swenson a lot of credit for keeping our family on an even keel, and sane.

debbie bailey said...

I wish I'd had it to read when my children were young. Things might have been better.

Bonnie said...

Yes, pick up a book!
Build your library too.

--“A little library, growing every year, is an honorable part of a man’s history.” Henry Ward Beecher

M.K. said...

That's astounding! We don't watch our TV, don't get the paper, and mostly have old books :) I'm reading Ivanhoe right now.