Intentional Reading: How do you choose what books to read?

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The Intentional Reading Panel weighed in with their answers to the question “How do you choose what books to read?” We all had our own unique method, but we had several things in common. All of us used recommendations from trusted sources to start our search. We did research to enrich and test the recommendations. And we all had a backlog of books we wanted to read so, we could start one book as soon as we finished another.

Start from The Recommendations of Others

For all of us, the recommendations of friends and colleagues and experts matter a lot. For Terry Moore, though, the “friend” was sometimes the footnotes in a book he read or the recommendations of a speaker he respected.

Do A Little Research

Most of us mentioned researching books on Amazon, but there were some unique recommendations.

When Art Petty uses Amazon, he pays the most attention to the three-star reviews, which he thinks are the most balanced and give him a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of a book. Tanmay Vora uses Amazon, but he also looks for comments on GoodReads.

Terry Moore doesn’t have a specific process, but he often starts from the footnotes in books he’s liked, and tends to read topically. He also uses an informal “points” system, giving potential reads more points when several people recommend the same book.

When It’s Time to Choose the Next Book

Wish lists on Amazon were popular with the group. Terry Moore, uniquely, buys books that he thinks he’ll want to read. Then, when it’s time to crack the next book, he looks at the books he’s bought and goes from there.

Bottom Line

You’re more likely to get the most from your reading if you have way to select the books you read. Use the Panel’s ideas as a starting point and figure out what works for you.

Here are pointers to the posts from panel members in the order they appeared.

How Art Petty chooses what to read

Art Petty splits the process into two steps: what to buy and then what/when to read. He casts a wide net getting ideas from periodicals, podcasts, and colleagues. He also pre-orders books from favorite authors.

How Stephen Lynch chooses what to read

Stephen Lynch looks for curated recommendations from people he trusts and admires. He pays close attention to recommendations from people who have read hundreds of business books over the years and know how to sort the wheat from the chaff.

How Mike Figliuolo chooses what to read

Mike Figliuolo reads to broaden his perspectives. He looks for books far afield from what he already knows or understands.

How Tanmay Vora chooses what to read

Tanmay Vora thinks that knowing what kinds of books you enjoy is key to choosing what to read and he always has a backlog.

How Terry Moore chooses what to read

Terry Moore doesn’t have a formal process to choose what to read next, but he is very thorough and selective.

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