Should You Read Through a Book You Don't Like?

Wrestling books you hate is an exercise to develop an open mind.

Adelina Vasile
9 min readFeb 9, 2022


Abstract image of a woman’s face with lots of symbols coming out of her head, representing what she’s thinking about.

Do you find it easier to drop a book than to turn the page when you're not that into it? If so, do you ever feel guilty about it? Wondering if you're wrong for not fitting the patterns, not finding joy in books everyone praises?

I think these are the wrong questions to focus on.

Instead, you should drill into why you want to stop reading a book and what that reason says about you.

Magic happens when you realize what turns you off and decide to keep reading against it. You open the door to unexpected growth opportunities.

Let me show you what I mean.

The unfinished books graveyard is overflowing

Did you know there's a measure index for how far readers will go through a book before giving up on it?

Since 2014, when the Hawking Index was "invented" by American mathematician Jordan Ellenberg, that measure is shamelessly pointing out the supposedly most "impressive" books that readers ditch without shame.

The lower the Hawking Index (HI), the higher the abandonment reading rate.

How is this index calculated, you wonder?

Ellenberg’s method of calculating the index draws on the “popular highlights”, the five most highlighted passages marked by Amazon Kindle readers of each title. A wide spread of highlights throughout the work means that most readers will have read the entire book, resulting in a high on the index. If the spread of highlights occurs only at the beginning of the book, then it means that fewer people will have read the book completely and will thus it score low on the index. When the index was created, this information was easier to access, as “popular highlights” were available to everyone, but since then this information has only been made available to people who buy the books on Kindle. (Source)

As you can see below, Hillary Clinton's "Hard Choices" rocks this index as a really… hard reading.

But so do many other famous books (Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm looking at you).



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself. Check my Substack here >>