The Reading Class
By Arnold Kling
In The New York Times, Harriett Rubin writes,
It took Dee Hock, father of the credit card and founder of Visa, a thousand books to find The One. Mr. Hock walked away from business life in 1984 and looked back only from his library’s walls. He built a dream 2,000-square-foot wing for his books in a pink stucco mansion atop a hill in Pescadero, Calif. He sat among the great philosophers and the novelists of Western life like Steinbeck and Stegner and dreamed up a word for what Visa is: “chaordic” — complex systems that blend order and chaos.
In his library, Mr. Hock found the book that contained the thoughts of all of them. Visitors can see opened on his library table for daily consulting, Omar Khayyam’s “Rubáiyát,” the Persian poem that warns of the dangers of greatness and the instability of fortune.
The article is about the eccentric reading habits of CEO’s. Back when I had my relocation web site, we got hold of some zip-code level marketing data. When I looked for purchases that correlated with affluence, hardback books was one of the strongest.
Rich people read. Books.
I have actually increased my reading of books in recent years. I’ve cut back on the time I spend with the newspaper (typically less than 5 minutes now, when it used to be at least half an hour). My magazine reading has shifted. I used to get tech/business porn like Wired and Fast Company. Now, I get Claremont Review, The New Atlantis, The Atlantic, and MIT Technology Review. TV is pretty much limited to the Super Bowl and the World Series.
Unlike Tyler, I have little taste for music, foreign travel, or the arts. I’m really boring. I’m surprised my wife hasn’t left me.
UPDATE: Then there’s this.
Since the fall of 2005, Google has joined several large West Coast companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Yahoo in hosting authors for weekly, sometimes daily, book-selling events that were once the sacred realm of bookstores. Although writers have long given lectures at universities and community centers, growing demand for them at the office is forcing publishers to rethink the traditional author tour and inducing booksellers to create ties with the corporate campus next door.
Pointer from Tyler Cowen.
Michael Leddy reports,
70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
Pointer from Melissa Clouthier.