Book: How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place

How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place

Aimed at politicians. So dull. No story. 
208 pages, ★★

When I choose a terrible book worthy of only one or two stars in a review, I’m actually saying more about my inability to choose good books that I am about the books themselves. This made me wonder: is reading ‘bad’ books a waste of time?

There is a limit to how many books we can read in a lifetime:

If we read one book every day (upper estimate), between the ages of 6 and 100 (again, upper estimates), then there’s only time to read 34,310 books in a lifetime.

There exist over 7 million books written in English. Assuming that 7% of them are in genres that interest us at some point in our lives, and that only 7% of those are of excellent quality, that leaves 7,000,000 ✕ 0.07 ✕ 0.07 = 34,300 five-star books in the world that interest me.

So there are 34,300 five-star books out there that interest me, and I have time (upper estimate) to read 34,310 books in a lifetime. Conclusion: we don’t have time to waste reading books we don’t like!

I loved Lomborg’s Cool It!, and I love watching his talks on the internet, but this book, How to Spend $50 Billion, certainly isn’t aimed at me. It’s aimed at politicians who have $50 billion of government funds at their discretion and who also need some guidance from authors as to how to spend it. That’s a minuscule audience. Most of the rest of us would be quite happy just reading the conclusion, which is only a Google search away. Don’t waste your time reading the rest. ★★


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