Why I Buy More Books Than I Read
(And why that’s a good thing.)
A quick survey of my Amazon order history for 2016 shows me that I buy about one new book every week.
While I’d love to say that I also read about one book per week, the truth is that I only finish about one or two books per month.
But that does’t stop me from buying books.
The First Rule of buying books is to not be a wimp about it
Here is my criteria for if I should buy a book or not:
- If a book sounds interesting at all, then I buy it. (If it sounds interesting then it’s a topic I’m hungry to learn more about.)
If there are a lot of folks I follow who are all talking about the same book, then I buy it. (What do they know that I don’t know?)
If someone I know recommends a book to me, then I buy it. (They read a book and it made them think of me, so whats in that book that can I glean from in order to to better refine my own message and thinking?)
Basically, I don’t debate over if I should buy a book or not. I just buy it.
And I feel no guilt whatsoever about buying books and not reading them. Because…
The Second Rule of Buying Books is to not care about reading them cover to cover
Once I’ve got the book, if its content and writing grab me then I read the whole thing. But if not, then no big deal. If I lose interest half-way through, then I just move on.
All I care about is getting one good idea or story from that book.
If I get that, then it’s worth it to me.
Chances are good that that single idea will impact my personal life as well as my business.
A life- and business-changing idea for $10 or less? Sold.
However, as a human, I don’t have a very good memory. So sometimes these ideas don’t stick too well. Which is why…
The Third Rule of Buying Books is to make notes and mark up the margins
I try to only ever buy physical copies of books.
Why? Lots of reasons, actually.
A physical book is easier to grab right off my book shelf. It’s more approachable than a digital book. It’s easier to thumb through and skim quickly. I can skim around to any chapter that sounds interesting to me and read a few pages.
Moreover, it’s nothing to have 3 or 4 physical books all open at once, spread out on the floor or my desk. Something I find so very helpful when doing research and getting lost in a topic.
I also love leaving sticky notes in my books. And highlighting them. And writing notes in the margins. And dog-earing the corners.
I also create my own alternate index on the back pages.
Then, once you’ve got all those ideas and notes and highlights…
The Fourth Rule of Buying Books is to share what you know
I recently bought The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, and I haven’t yet read all the way through. But it has already impacted me significantly.
On page 14 Twyla Tharp tells about her routine of going to the gym every morning. The “extent” of her workout routine is to get dressed, walk outside to hail a cab, and then tell the driver which gym to take her to. After that, her routine is complete.
This hit me at just the right time.
After hurting my ankle in Colorado last fall, I completely fell off the running wagon and hadn’t been running regularly for about 9 months. I read Twyla’s story and realized that I could at least put my running clothes on and drive to the gym. If, by the time I got there, I didn’t want to run, then I could go to the coffee shop instead.
That was well over a month ago and I haven’t missed a day at the gym since. Not bad for a used $7 paperback. And there is still the whole rest of the book left to read!
Other ways to share what you’re learning:
- At dinner with friends, bring up something you just read in a book.
Summarize your favorite books into 3 sentences or less.
Start a book club and invite your friends to join…
I’m Starting a Book Club. Join In.
If you’d like to get my personal book recommendations along with my notes about that book, then sign up for the book club.
Once a month I’ll send you an email letting you know what that month’s book is and why it’s so great.