Academics Mostly Don't Read

I found a brief Twitter conversation between professors about how most academics don’t read much (and are misleading/lying about it):

Professor 1:

I am a slow book-reader so am still making my way through @svaneksmith’s delightful “Machiavelli for Women.” At this point I’ve probably talked about it with all my friends. It’s a great playbook for women in the workplace and the men who care about their success. Go buy it!

Professor 2:

Thank you for coming out as a slow book reader. I am the same way and I feel like academia partly judges you by your ability to consume various texts in large quantities.

Professor 1:

I asked a friend in a book-focused discipline recently how people keep up with all the reading. She insisted that no one actually reads the whole book, just the first chapter. That made me feel much better.

Professor 3 (who is also the author of the book that professor 1 is reading slowly):

When I was writing the book, someone who had written a book advised me to really focus on the intro and the first chapter for exactly that reason!! I think slow reader might just mean someone who *actually reads!!

The stuff about how “no one” reads books past chapter 1 is candid and disturbing. (Similarly, people often talk about or cite papers after only reading the abstract.)

As a smaller issue, I also thought it was problematic how professor 1 has talked with all her friends about the book before finishing reading it. I think the majority of her discussion of books happens before finishing them, so it doesn’t take into account what’s later in the books.

Another smaller issue is that this person felt better to hear essentially that most professors are frauds. She didn’t notice that perspective on it or didn’t care or something. She’s super biased in favor of her colleagues, and all she seemed to care about was not being inferior.