Burning through Fiction


What is it about Business Books that takes me so long to read them?

Over the last few months (maybe more), it’s normally taken me a week or more to finish a 200-300 page business book. And those are ones I find interesting. Contrast that with works of fiction.

Saturday, I saw The Hunger Games, a movie based on the book of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It was good! On Sunday I decided to read the second book, Catching Fire. On Monday, I finished the nearly 300 page book, and decided to read the final book, Mockingjay. I finished that today (Tuesday).

It probably helps that the fiction is well written, compelling, and paints a picture of a world we could very well become.

But, the other books I’ve read have been really good too – what’s the difference?

Well written fiction is a page-turner. Always leaving you thinking, “What will happen next?” while also keeping the overarching conflict present in your mind. In a business book, very few chapters contain danger, love, or characters for us to get invested in.

Entertainment can be tough to turn away from. Not that those business books aren’t good, but there is a certain distinction between interesting and entertaining.

Makes you think
I never put down Catching Fire to wonder, “how would I handle President Snow at my job?” (Note: growing up I had a rather solid talent with my compound bow). But when I read Drive, I found myself stopping to make notes, or even send an e-mail to someone with an idea that the book generated. In a number of cases the books have led not only to a Book Review, but other blog posts on related topics.

There is certainly a difference in how we process entertainment vs. self improvement in our lives. So it isn’t surprising that reading books would follow that same pattern. But is there a solution? Do you need it a badly as I do?

First, accept the distraction. Do read some for entertainment as well as self-improvement.

Second, find the right mix. Even if that means stopping mid-book to read something different. I’m actually in the middle of Imagine right now. Don’t feel bad if this seems like trial and error…it is.

Finally, don’t get wrapped up in the hype. Don’t fall for every “great read” you hear about. In fact, try before you buy. I read the first two chapters of Catching Fire on my Nook for free (at B&N) before I decided to buy it.

There probably isn’t one good answer for everyone, but if you’re struggling to get through that business book, study guide or other serious work take a break and read something fun!


  1. I completely agree, reading for entertainment is rewarding in that I found myself completing all five of the Twilight books in record time! I really surprised even myself at how I couldn’t put those books down. I definitely would rather read for fun than business! Good job Rob!!

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