A short guide on how to find good books. | 85/100

Advertising magnate David Ogilvy recommended you aim for a book a day on your holidays in his excellent book, Ogilvy on Advertising.

I didn’t quite manage it on my most recent trip to Turkey – but I gave it a damn good go.

I love reading. People often ask me how I come across so many good books. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure. They all just seem to drop into my lap. I’ve permanently got about twenty on the back burner ready to go.

But that’s not a good enough answer for you, valued reader. So, I got scribbling in my notebook, and tried to figure out how exactly I choose what to read next.

Five places to find amazing books:

  • Your favourite authors recommended reads. Scour interviews, clips on YouTube, or check the forewords and afterwords in their books) – this is a good way to start establishing a creative lineage of sorts.
  • Podcasts. Most good podcasts include a ‘shownotes’ section. The Jocko Podcast has uncovered some incredible gems (like the ancient samurai text The Book of Five Rings). Another goldmine is The Tim Ferriss Show – his shownotes are particularly detailed. His conversation with Angellist founder Naval Ravikant was where I first heard about Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, one of the best books I’ve ever read. That’s not to mention the authors that appear as guests – I discovered Ryan Holiday and James Altucher, another two of my favourite authors, from listening to podcasts.
  • The internet in general. Brainpickings, an amazing website run by Maria Popova, is basically a carefully curated collection of the very best insights from the greatest minds on the planet. It was where I found great authors like Ray Bradbury, Michael Lewis and dozens more. Check it out. And remember – that’s just one site! Websites like Goodreads and specific sections of Reddit are also valuable resources in the quest for better books.
  • The classics. Chances are, if a book is still written and spoken about now, it’s worth reading. Most of these are free to download online, now. If not, you can pick them up for pennies. Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck, London, Hemingway, Melville, Fitzgerald, Marcus Aurelius, Shelley, Seneca… Just get going. There’s something amazing about reading words that are hundreds (or even thousands) of years old. It’s electrifying.
  • Ask people you admire. Every time I meet someone who seems particularly bright, or wise, or kind, or interesting – I ask them what they read. Chances are that they do, and chances are that what they read is going to positively impact your life. Don’t be shy – nobody will mind you asking.

There are so many good books out there. We’ve only got a limited time to read them, to apply their wisdom to our lives.

So – what are you waiting for? Start looking for your next read. And let me know if you come across any good ones.


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