How Art Petty chooses what books to read

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Art Petty is an author, speaker, and management educator with a lot of real world experience. He writes the Management Excellence blog and is a member of our Intentional Reading Panel where you’ll find a full bio.

I asked Art to tell you how he chooses what books to read among the gazillions of possibilities. Here’s how he does it.

How Art Petty chooses what books to read

I split the process into two steps: what to buy and then what/when to read.

I have a vexing habit of inventorying content I perceive will be valuable in my professional pursuits. That’s code for I buy more books than I can reasonably consume in the near term. However, I eventually get to them all as part of my work writing, coaching, consulting, and teaching.

The decision on what to buy in the business genre is as follows:

I watch for new releases from my favorite authors. I pre­order anything new from Ram Charan, Gary Hamel, or Alan Weiss.

I look for leads to new business books in the periodicals I read: HBR, Strategy & Business, Rotman, MIT Sloan, Forbes and Fortune.

I look for leads from the major bloggers I follow. Wally Bock has influenced my reading purchases a great deal over time!

I listen for book ideas from the podcasters, especially Ferris, Altucher and Woessner.

If I am researching certain themes for a new book, article, blog series, workshop or course, I do a deep dive into the field and look to see who the experts are.

For business eBooks, I review the table of contents and “Look Inside” material before reading reviews. I also download a sample if I am interested before reading reviews.

When reading reviews, I gravitate to 3­stars to find out what worked and what didn’t from these mostly balanced opinions.

Last and not least, I curate an extensive wish list at Amazon for potential books that I deem “interesting at the right time.”

One last one: every time I find a book I am interested in, I make note of it in Evernote and reference this source when touring my local library or visiting a bookstore.

Now it’s your turn

How do you choose what business books to spend your time and money on?

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