Saying No to Book Recommendations

I get about 10 book recommendations a week.

You probably do too.

Friends at work recommend reading this book, others encourage you to read that book, etc. Many of us have an overwhelming to-read list that grows faster than the pace we can actually read. (and some titles you can’t even remember why they’re on your list in the first place)

So, here’s a few tips to whittle down the amount of books you commit to reading.

1. First, when someone recommends a book to you, respond with this: “Thanks, that sounds interesting! Can you take 5 minutes and explain to me the overall concept?” (Your friend might be able to explain to you the 4-5 major points they learned, removing the need to read the book yourself)

2. Ask them “On a scale of 1-10, how important is it that I read this book?”. If they respond with 9 or 10, add it to the list. If not, ignore the recommendation. (In a lot of cases, people will admit their book isn’t really that important, even if they were boasting about it seconds earlier)

3. Find out specifically what chapters you are most interested in. Only read those chapters. (Yes, it’s OK to partially read books – no shame in not finishing)

4. Ask your friend, “If I *don’t* read this book, what 2-3 things would I miss out on?”. This flips the question about how necessary the book is to read.

5. When you do add titles to your book list, make a short note about *why* you want to read it. When you revisit your list later, you can remember why the title is on your list.

I used to feel guilt and shame about the books I was told to read but never did. I don’t anymore, because there is too much good stuff out there, and not enough time to get to it all.

Cut down your list!

Happy Friday,
– Joel

Throw. me. the. ball!

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