2021 Resolutions: Read the Great Books

The time is here, where we make promises for the new year only to (on average) forget our resolutions within weeks, if not days. I’m proud to have finally completed a New Year’s resolution: one year of reading ‘The Greats’.

The Past Year

Around December of 2019, I discovered the 1952 Great Books of the Western World (GBWW) set and decided 2020 would be the beginning of a lifelong journey to read the foundational works of the Western world, which had been largely absent from my now decades-long education. This 2020 New Year resolution to re-educate myself came in tandem with the idea to begin ThinkingWest as well. Here I am one year later, still reading and writing.

Over the past year or so, I’ve read well over 20 books spanning Plato to a few modern day political works; some, like Plato’s Apology and Crito, I even read twice to get deeper into the philosophy behind the works. Wisdom has been dwelling in my mind all this year, likely inspired from my initial readings in Plato and the Biblical books on wisdom (e.g. Wisdom, Sirach, etc.).

In my writing, I completed 20+ articles published here, touching on both the works that I’ve been reading as well as other areas I’ve felt compelled to speak out on (e.g. the efficacy of homeschooling).

Altogether, I’ve learned a lot both through my readings and through my contributions to ThinkingWest, and I’m more motivated than ever to continue studying and writing in 2021. I hope my brief reflection of my 2020 New Year resolution success will inspire you to pick up the great books of the world, start a blog like I did, or otherwise complete whatever resolutions rest on your mind.

Habits Win

The best advice to completing your 2021 New Year resolution is to schedule whatever needs to be done first. I read two meager pages of the Bible before beginning my day job every work day, and now I’m halfway through the Bible, on track to finish at the end of 2021. My other readings were scheduled immediately after my kids went to sleep. Some days I read only a few pages; other days I read twenty (these are some very dense pages by the way – one drawback to the GBWW set). The important thing was I read (nearly) every day, such that these resolutions have become a part of my daily habits. Praying before work was a third resolution that has become a daily habit now as well. My best advice is to make your New Years resolution morph into a habit.

My 2021 Resolutions

So, what are my 2021 New Year’s resolutions? Concrete goals are best, of course. My goals for 2021 are 1) add another prayer to my morning prayer routine, 2) continue reading the Bible every work morning and finish it this year, and 3) write 20 or more ThinkingWest articles.

These goals are a bit ambitious, given I have many things going on in 2021, namely the arrival of my third child, the completion of my Ph.D., and a probable relocation for a new job. However, all my resolutions are well defined and connected to my overall goals of growing ThinkingWest, re-educating myself, and improving in personal virtue.

Drop your New Years resolutions in the comments below; I’d love to hear your plans.

Good-bye 2020. Hello 2021!

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Published by Christian Poole

Catholic | Father | Husband | Founder of ThinkingWest .com

3 thoughts on “2021 Resolutions: Read the Great Books

  1. Hi Christian,

    Hope you’re well and Happy new year to you!
    Despite the sort of turn 2020 had made, hope that you’ve had a good year on an individual level and that you’re welcoming an even better 2021!
    I’m reaching out as I have randomly come across your blog and enjoyed reading your post on the GBWW.
    I happen to have just purchased the entire set (1952 edition) from someone with the accompanying reading plans and original purchase doc from ‘64 and have been more than excited about that.
    I first heard of this collection when I was in college (8-9 yrs ago) and knew that I wanted to own it one day so it’s been a great Christmas gift.
    Like many, I’m familiar with most of the works included in the collection which is mostly inevitable since they have notably been quite influential on our world, but having the entire set certainly adds another layer of appreciation to them.

    Currently, my wife and I are working on a reading plan since we plan on doing this together. Taking these on is a significant endeavour and requires preparation. As intended by Adler that the everyday man and citizen is to be relatively well-versed with the material if the intention is the preservation of a free society, reading them may hardly be something optional in the case we prefer to live in the world these ideas have produced.

    I myself, was inspired to write a short blurb as a way to clarify some of my own thinking about and around the Great Conversation and open it to criticism:


    Anyway, I am not writing with any particular purpose, guess I’m just being reciprocal as I enjoyed your post and thought to share that with you. You’ve written just a few days ago so it seemed timely and it is good to see others who have found interest in this collection.

    Good luck in continuing on with your second year of reading and in everything else you’re involved in.

    – Kris

    Greeting from sunny Queensland, Australia

    1. Great to hear from you, Kris – and even better to hear of your getting the GBWW set. Great Christmas gift! Also glad that you can embark on the reading journey with your wife; that will be a great way to actually discuss the books and ideas therein, rather than reading and forgetting.

      Great post on medium! I’ve been unsure whether to venture to write on such sites; I was never sure how friendly Medium would be to content related to the Great Conversation, given the political climate.

      Please keep in touch regarding your readings and writings!

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