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Reading Notes / Collector’s Fallacy and the cure

Posted On 03.20.2022

Collector’s Fallacy is the urge to collect something that you never use or need, but the act of collecting gives you a good feeling (cognitive reward).

For example:

  • Save every article on the internet that you think it’s interesting
  • Buy every book you found
  • Buy stuff that you never actually needed

It is called a fallacy because when you collect something and do not spend time reading or processing it, you know about it, but do not actually know it.

Some tactics to combat the Collector’s Fallacy:

  • “Own” before you collect: Sit down and process the information before you move on with the next item. Or plan some few hours a day to go over your inbox and process the pending items here.
  • Do a monthly purge: Don’t be afraid to delete items off the reading list if they’re not excited you anymore. Do it periodically, maybe once a month.