book hack

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read

Pierre Bayard

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

Literature professor Pierre Bayard explains how cultivating general literary competence will allow you to confidently discuss books you haven't read and also benefit your own writing.


How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read

by Pierre Bayard


We've all been in a situation where we feel compelled to talk about a book we haven't read. Maybe we've skipped the assigned reading or tried to impress someone at a party. But no matter the situation, there are just too many books for anyone to read all the important ones.

As a professor of literature at the University of Paris, Pierre Bayard may seem like an unlikely figure to talk about not reading books. But throughout his years in Paris intellectual society, the professor has learned that talking about books you haven't read comes down to understanding the literary landscape and making informed decisions about what not to read.

In this book, Bayard shares his secrets to building literary confidence. Learning to participate in literary conversations without necessarily having read the books involved can open up a new way to appreciate literature.

Favorite quote

Talking about unread books invites us into a realm of authentic creativity.

- Pierre Bayard

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