New Book Tells You How Long It Will Take You to Read It

New Book Tells You How Long It Will Take You to Read It

Our hectic 21st century lives come with a lot of pressure and there always seems to be time pressure, making every moment more precious; I know I’m a lot less patient with books I don’t enjoy than I used to be. We have to know how long movies are or how long we can expect to wait in a queue for the latest videogame. Now, to add more to our already busy lives, Reddit co-founder Alexi Ohanian’s new book is coming with a label telling you how long it should take you to read it.

His forthcoming book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made Not Managed (Business Plus), has a small mark on the back cover, indicating that the book is a “5-hour read,” equaling the approximate time it takes to fly from San Francisco to New York City. In a picture of the cover that Ohanian posted on imgur, he added, “Hope this becomes a trend — I believe we’re the first book to do it, yes?”

Are you sure? I mean, how do you know how long it’ll take me to read your book, Mr Ohanian? I may not read it all in one go or I might stop and start again. I’m not the only one that thinks this might be a bad idea, as Michelle Dean at Flavorwire said:

 …the purpose isn’t so much informational as it is, I think, some sort of hilariously disciplining of both author and reader. A slow reader will feel guilty: a fast reader will feel pride; in both cases the feelings serve no useful purpose. For a writer of any real caliber the thing is actively self-debasing. This is an author saying to you: ‘I have written a book. Isn’t it great? It is, but it is only worth five hours of your time. It might take you longer to read War and Peace, sure, and you might have to do a couple of re-reads. But the whole sum of human knowledge on offer in this book: it’s five hours only. I’m just efficient like that.

Great. More guilt. I’ve already had therapy for that once. Would knowing how long it could take you to finish a book put you off? I think it’s likely going to put people off if they realize how long they’ll have to spend reading something like Fifty Shades of Grey… wait a minute, maybe that’s an idea after all!

Image of Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed
Author: Alexis Ohanian
Price: $19.15
Publisher: Business Plus (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 272 pages
Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading The Hyperion Cantos September 20, 2013 - 2:44pm

“Hope this becomes a trend — I believe we’re the first book to do it, yes?”

His motives seem... obnoxious.

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club September 20, 2013 - 11:04pm

The newer Kindle has a feature that tells you how long it'll take you to finish a chapter or the book, but it's based on your average reading speed from you using the devise. I really like that idea, but having a set time for every person seems silly. Of course it'll take everyone the same amount of time to watch a movie, but reading is personal and a completely different medium.