Luc van Donkersgoed

As I _once again_ bought more books than I can read over the holidays, I’m reminded of this viewpoint:

Think not of the books you’ve bought as a « to be read » pile. Instead, think of your bookcase as a wine cellar. You collect books to be read at the right time, the right place, and the right mood.

01 janv. 2023, 23:26

Drawing from [Nassim Nicholas] Eco’s example, [Nassim Nicholas] Taleb deduces:

Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. [Your] library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows 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 this collection of unread books an antilibrary. [Emphasis original]

Writing for the New York Times, Kevin Mims also doesn’t care for Taleb’s label […].

His preferred label is a loanword from Japan: tsundoku. Tsundoku is the Japanese word for the stack(s) of books you’ve purchased but haven’t read. Its morphology combines tsunde-oku (letting things pile up) and dokusho (reading books).

The word originated in the late 19th century as a satirical jab at teachers who owned books but didn’t read them. While that is opposite of Taleb’s point, today the word carries no stigma in Japanese culture. It’s also differs from bibliomania, which is the obsessive collecting of books for the sake of the collection, not their eventual reading.


Camenzind, A. (2018). Maultiere machen Geschichte oder Suworows Krieg in den Schweizer Alpen im Jahre 1799. Cham, Verlag Pro Libro Luzern GmbH. 2018 Export RIS
Kaufmann, K. (2023). Stollenluft – In den Kavernen der schweizerischen Vergangenheit. Mels, SL Druck + Medien. 2023 Export RIS
Jorio, M. (2023). Die Schweiz und ihre Neutralität – Eine 400-jährige Geschichte. Zürich, Hier und Jetzt. 2023 Export RIS
Spiegelman, A. (1996). The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. New York, Pantheon. 1996 Export RIS
Gaddis, J. L. (2018). On grand strategy. London, Penguin Books. 2018 Export RIS
King, A. (2019). Command : the Twenty-First-Century General. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 2019 Export RIS
Storr, J. (2022). Something Rotten : Land Command in the 21st Century. Havant, Howgate. 2022 Export RIS
Freedman, L. (2022). Command – the Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine. London, Allen Lane. 2022 Export RIS
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