Tyler Cowen thinks we should put down bad books:

[Cowen] finishes one book for every five to 10 he starts. "People have this innate view it comes from friendship and marriage that commitment is good. Which I agree with," he says. That view shouldn't, he says, carry over to inanimate objects. It's not that he's not a voracious reader he finishes more than a book a day, not including the "partials." He just wants to make the most of his time. "We should treat books a little more like we treat TV channels," he argues. No one has trouble flipping away from a boring series.

Finishing books has a lot to do with sunk costs. If a reader paid $25 for a book, it's a lot harder for them to put it down after ten pages than if a publishing house sent you a free review copy. That's why e-books make more sense. They cost less and so the investment is lower.

By the way, I think the same principle should apply to meals. If Americans simply left half their food on the plate, most of our obesity issues would disappear.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.