Rules for choosing books

Rules for choosing books

Agree it’s hurt when you bought the book, read to the middle and realized that it is not at all what you wanted?

Is this situation avoidable? Yes. There are simple rules that I use to pick up a reading list.

Rule 1: “Life Percent”

Let’s start by defining current activities. 20% of the time, I teach others, 20% of the time I learn myself, and 60% of the time I devote to current activities. So I select my books accordingly, 20% of what I read for training, 20% where I educate myself, and 60% are related to the day-to-day tasks of my businesses.

Rule 2: “Number of shelves”

When I built my apartment, I reserved a certain space for books. So when a new book is not put there, I have to get rid of one of the old ones. At least I remember what’s on which shelves, simply because the number of shelves is limited and I have to rearrange books and go through them to find a book “to throw away”. Also, it will be helpful to know that if you haven’t started reading a book in 10 years, it will be helpful to get rid of that book.

Unfortunately, electronic book reading media (and I have a favorite Kindle White Paper) do not have the ability to achieve concentration through space limitations. You can have 1,000 books on virtual shelves there. And that kills the very idea of a “physical world” where there always has to be a choice between the good and the very good.

My father has a favorite parable. A lot of people like it. A friend of his wanted to read books in retirement and amassed a huge library. But when he retired, he went blind and the library was of no use to him. Read books now, don’t save them for a happy old age. That’s my global advice.

Rule 3: Use Recommendations

I don’t read anything without the advice of the people I care about.

Yes, I can walk up to the counter in a store, read two or three pages at random, and buy a book chosen spontaneously. But there’s a good chance that I won’t like the book. And I don’t like to be disappointed in books (besides here is a loss of time and faith in a bright future) so I try to start reading a book only if I already know from external information that it is a masterpiece.

It usually means that those people who have advised me good books before have advised me this one as well. I don’t make remarks about the social status of the recommender. Many of those who have recommended business books to me are not businessmen, or micro-businessmen. But a good reviewer is not about that.

I make my own judgment: whether the book was right for me or not, whether it inspired me to start new businesses, and whether I made money from the business ideas it contained.

A good reviewer is just a good reviewer; he or she may not even be a good person. I have enough business projects to test the recommendations in the book in my own way.

Other rules

Is it good to leave a book halfway through?

I don’t like this process. It’s like getting married and changing your mind during the wedding. I believe that if you’ve already chosen a book and brought it into your house, it’s too late to be surprised. Whether you like it or not, you have to read it. You have to choose both a wife and a book beforehand. That’s why I rarely leave a book before I’ve finished it. But a couple of times I did.

You can’t make dogma out of every rule. It is absolutely impossible to read a book that you don’t like, don’t need, or whose author is a deeply superficial person. Such a book should be put aside and destroyed. I don’t even pass books like that on to others – I don’t think it’s necessary to produce bad books. If the publisher made a mistake with it, I will help him to destroy the circulation by destroying my copy.

But then again, that very rarely happens to me. More often than not, the subject matter raised in the book doesn’t interest me after a while, and then I part with the book and feel great. I look for a new owner or take it to a store-they, like pet shelters, know how to find new owners (not a trivial task at all).

Should we share useful books with others?

It’s not an easy question. On the one hand it is not good to be greedy. But personally, my attitude is: “Let all the most valuable things be with me”.

I know many people will condemn me. Like “it’s wrong not to share knowledge with others” and all that. But that’s not the point here. The thing is that I make notes in books, write something in the margins. And I don’t want anyone else to see those notes.

Also I don’t let the books I hold dear as a memory be read. I treat books like pets, so I think every book should have an owner who loves it. I love the books that are left in my library and I believe that it is up to the person who will love the book, too.

How many books should we read at one time?

Not just one. I pick up a book to suit my mood and the challenges of the day. A book both motivates and calms me down. So I read about five books at a time.

What to do with the new books bringed from the store?

I read a few pages from every book I buy. I read on the first day of purchase. My logic is as follows. After I buy a book is on the shelf, if I haven’t started reading it, haven’t looked at what data is in it, it can stay on the shelf for a very long time. So I read a few pages of the book, and after that I only put it on the shelf. At the right time, I hope to remember this book because I am familiar with it.

Is it necessary to write your own book in order to read others’ books consciously?

Yes, I attribute my high efficiency in reading books to the fact that I write my own book. It helps me a lot to structure information from other people’s books. Therefore, I recommend the book as a “life project” to everyone. Basically, your own book is such a global outline of the most important things in your life.

Enjoy your books!


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