How I decide what to read next


Currently I have a half hour commute from my home in the center of Perth to my work in one of the Northern suburbs. I take the bus every day, which gives me an hour a day to read. Extra. So, you’ll probably appreciate that I go through books like mad at the moment. E-books, because I decided a couple of months ago it would make more sense to carry around a Kindle than to haul actual books to and from work. I like a physical book more than a Kindle, but it’s just not as convenient.

Occasionally I read a novel, but most books I read at the moment are business-related books. Not just any business, but business for the modern day and age, fit for the 21st century. Some of the titles I’ve read are ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink, ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek, and ‘Reinventing Organisations’ by Frederic Laloux, but there are many more.

When I just got my Kindle, I already had a backlog of books to read. It was easy: I’d buy a book on Amazon, read it, and when I’d get to the end I would simply buy the next one on the list. Most of the titles on that backlog were of books that I had heard of already because someone in my network talked about it, tweeted about it, recommended it, etc. Or it could be because a book was mentioned in another book, and the context of that mention appealed to me.

When my backlog became empty at some point, I quickly needed to add books before I’d run out of things to read. So I turned to Twitter, asking people what to read next. I wasn’t disappointed. As a direct result, I read some gems like ‘Non-violent Communications’ by Marshall Rosenberg and ‘Team of Teams’ by retired General Stanley McChrystal. Usually, I don’t even bother reading an excerpt or summary. I might skim over the reviews, but I know they have limited value. The proof of the pudding is in the eating… You know how it is.

I realise my network is biased, any network is (the bias is probably on my part). Furthermore, I am specifically asking for business books pertaining to modern management and current insights — although some insights are decades if not centuries old, paradoxically — which reinforces this bias. Still, because I highly value the opinions of people in my network, I sometimes read books I would not have chosen myself. Rosenberg’s ‘Non-violent Communications’ is an example. However, I’m very glad I read it.

How do you chose your books? Are you open to suggestions? Do you read books you wouldn’t have chosen yourself? And finally: which books would you recommend for me?