Tyler Cowen, masquerading as a penguin, tells us to throw out our books:
Here’s the problem. If you donate the otherwise-thrashed book somewhere, someone might read it. OK, maybe that person will read one more book in life but more likely that book will substitute for that person reading some other book instead.
So you have to ask yourself — this book — is it better on average than what an attracted reader might otherwise spend time with? No I’m not encouraging “censorship” of any particular point of view, but even within any particular point of view most books simply aren’t that good. These books are traps for the unwary.
Of course, you could do what I do with books, good and bad: hoard them.
An unfortunate consequence of this behavior: I am moving this weekend, and confront 40 boxes of books. (Well, technically, the two guys I hired through Craigslist will have to confront the books. But I feel for them.)
I sometimes question my attachment to so much paper. I really ought to become a better user of public libraries. It’s the compulsive scribbling of ideas in the margins, the underlining of important passages, and the chance that one day in the far flung future those scribblings will come in handy, that keep me hoarding. Early signs of insanity?