If you’re like me (a recovering overachiever), you probably have a grab-your-phone-to-start-writing-down-the-title reflex every time someone says “this book is amazing!”
Like me, you probably have your reading list neatly organized in Evernote, Google Docs, iPhone Notes, or in (insert organization tool).
And if you’re like me, that list probably has over 100 books in it.
Every time you open your reading list to add a book to it, you’re half-holding your breath because the list is overwhelming.
You finally exhale with relief when you stop scrolling and arrive at the bottom. It’s January, and you know there are at least 95 books on this list you’re not going to read this year. At least. Best case scenario.
This is not a make space for reading post. This is not a not a post on how to speed read. This is not a post about deleting your social profiles and Netflix account and filling the void with reading time.
You have a purpose in this world and people to impact. To do that, you need to learn from others.
This post is all about helping you answer two questions so you can get reading and not get lost in the sea of everything you’re not doing:
- Which book do I read next?
- How do I stop myself from adding books I don’t need to read to my list
Overachiever time out: (people who aren’t overachievers, skip ahead to the smile emoji)
Confession time here. I’ve determined that sometimes, I just need to stop reading a book because it isn’t resonating with me. I could be 10 pages in, 50 pages in, 300 pages in. The book is not what I hoped it would be.
Not finishing a book doesn’t make you a failure. You don’t need to feel guilty about it. Think about it.
Does finishing a book you don’t get value from make you a better person than if you stop and pick up a better book that you’ll actually get something out of? (some of you will use this logic to stop reading this post, I get it 🙂)
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when trying to figure out what to read next.
Do I want to model my life after the person who recommended this book?
Do they really get what I am chasing after in life?
Do I care about what this book is about?
Do I think this book sounds like a good read?
If you answer yes to these questions, what are you waiting for? Start reading!
Here are some great questions to ask when someone recommends a book, to make sure it is worth adding to your (soon-to-be-growing-shorter-and-better) reading list.
Is this one of the best 5 books you’ve ever read?
Or, if you’re really brave.
Is this the best book you’ve ever read? Because I would love to know what that book is for you!
Or another variation.
What is the book you’ve read the most?
Follow up with:
Why was it so good?
Why would you recommend this book to someone like me?
My (current) favourite book is Grace Walk by Steve McVey. It was recommended to me by my good friend George. It has answered questions I have been asking my whole life and helped me find true meaning and rest in knowing Jesus.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read? How do you figure out what to read next?
2 thoughts on “Too many books to read? Ask these questions to figure out what to read next.”
Man! Asking a bibliophile what’s the best book she’s ever read is like asking a mom which kid she likes best!
Rushing in where angels fear to tread, however, I’d have to say that one of The Best books I’ve read recently (last week) is John Eldredge’s “Get Your Life Back: Everyday Practices for a World Gone Mad.”
Ditto “Walking With God” and “Epic,” also by Eldredge. And of course, anything by Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll, Corrie ten Boom, Elisabeth Elliot or Gary Paulsen. And a perennial favorite: “The Velveteen Rabbit,” by Margery Williams.
Great post Seth!
I can really connect with this post because I’m so hard on myself whenever I start reading a book… I just have to finish it. I guess I’m kind of an overachiever like you.
I also have a very long list of books to read (already purchased & for future purchase). So, sometimes it can get quite frustrating when I’m deciding what to read next.
I love the key questions you pointed out. They’re really good guidelines for me.
What helps me decide is I would download a sample book from Kindle & analyze the sample if it’s worth reading then I’d buy it. If not, I just press “Delete” so I don’t waste my money.
I’m currently reading the “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” – Vishen Lakhiani.
My favourite books are: “The Richest Man in Babylon”, “Instant Millionaire”, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” & the “Bible.”