How To Choose What To Read

Updated: December 10, 2021 Reading Time: 2 minutes stage: complete

As I've been struggling to choose what book to read next, I decided to use a process that has helped me a lot in the past but have never written down.

So here it is, in case you find yourself in a similar struggle:

  1. Filter by age. Per the Lindy Effect the longer a book has been in print, the more timeless wisdom it contains. I try to only read books that have been in print for ten years or longer. I pick up newer books only if a friend or somebody I trust highly recommends them.
  2. Challenge yourself. Reading should always be a learning experience, one that stretches your mind and stretches the boundaries of your circle of competence. Whenever I have the option between reading something that sounds familiar or that I may agree with and something that will challenge my ideas, I choose the latter. I try to get new information, not confirm my own biases.
  3. Follow your curiosity. I learned from Ryan Holiday to always scan the bibliography of books I read to find what to read next. I keep a "bibliography of bibliography" of sorts that I scan periodically to see what catches my attention. I then go online to read a summary of the book and only dive into it if I'm still curious after this first pass. I use my curiosity as a filter.

By using these steps, I've become more deliberate about what books I pick up with great results.