Antitracking

Unlike the antilibrary there’s no value in notes taken and never referred to again.

We’re all familiar with the concept of the antilibrary, right? From Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book The Black Swan:

The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

As true as this holds for books, it’s not a concept to be universally applied. The antipantry is a fancy compost bin. The antitracker, that spreadsheet or Notion page or fancy app where you measure data with no ability to extract value from the points, adds no significant improvement to your life.

And while we’re on the subject of books…I stopped tracking my reading a while back. My reading log was bloated, messy, and just a hassle to maintain. When you feel compelled to finish a book just so you can mark it complete on a meaningless list, you know it’s time to make a change.

Here’s some posts from around the web on the point and pointlessness of tracking everything.

Ben Grosser – Twitter Demetricator“Are your like and retweet metrics changing how you feel about reactions to your latest tweet, or your plans for what to write next? And finally, who benefits from a system that constantly encourages all of us to evaluate and compare based on what the metrics say?”

Dylan Hughes – Why I Stopped Tracking Everything“How often do you hear someone say they are on a “digital detox”? While the numbers aren’t the only reason for that, they play a part.”

Anne-Laure Le Cunff – The fallacy of “what gets measured gets managed” “Somehow, a long game of telephone resulted in a truncated version of the idea, where the most important part about being careful with measurement was forgotten.”

Leo Babauta – Untrack “Can’t we run for the joy of it? Aren’t we motivated to do it because we love ourselves? And who cares if we run more miles or not?”


About the Author

Eli Jones is a BI Developer and speculative fiction writer living in the Columbia Gorge.