We are readers. We read for the news, we read for information, we read for entertainment, and we read to learn. You’re reading this, aren’t you? You’re a reader, just like me.
The startup scene is a messy arena of trial and failure. Both trial and failure are necessary to make sure only the best-fitted startups survive. Thankfully, we can learn about previous failures through reading. But where to start?
Everyone can be a writer and everyone can publish a book nowadays. This means there are lots of books published every day. If we stopped all the other activities and focused on writing we wouldn’t be able even to scratch the top of it. We need to reduce the number of titles we want to devour. On the other hand, we fear we might skip something really good.
How to make sure you read the valuable books?
Most of the time, we rely on recommendations.
Where do you look for reading inspiration?
The best recommendations come from people we know personally. Especially if those people know what makes us tick. Then there are people similar to us that we follow. We may subscribe to their blog, their newsletter or observe them on social media.
By the way, in case you didn’t know there is a great service that lets you track and share your reading list, your recommendations, and comments. It’s called Goodreads and I encourage you to join it. You can find me there as well.
Besides our peers, we often look up to the experts. The gurus. The respectable. If you are choosing between two books on a similar topic it is much more probable you’ll go for the one endorsed by Sergey Brin. Especially if the book’s topic belongs to his area of expertise.
One book is endorsed by Sergey Brin, the other by someone you never heard of. Which would you choose?
Only 1% of all the books achieve the bestseller status, while the rest remains in obscurity. Similarly out of those bestsellers, some gain much better traction with experts than the others. And that’s the mechanism that stands beyond The Startup Book Club (no relationship with The Startup publication). Get all the books that experts, leaders, and thinkers like and put them in one place. Simple and neat, don’t you think?
What’s with the club?
Knowledge compounds. To benefit from the compound interest you need to regularly “invest”, that is to feed your knowledge with new information. So says Warren Buffett. I buy this advice, but as with stock market, some investments are better than others.
The Startup Book Club acts as a kind of investment fund. Somebody else makes a list of recommended investments based on their historical performance. Bill Gates, Ev Williams, and Mahatma Gandhi suggested this book? I’ll take it!
To tell you the truth I never understood this whole book clubs thing. People gather around and discuss the book that some guy or gal said they should read? Sounds too much like school days. Even though I was an avid reader in school, I read very little from the required reading list the school presented. I don’t like to be forced into something.
Why did I decide to join the club?
First of all, the suggestions do not come from a single person but from a variety of people. They are not the shiny influencers but rather actual leaders and thinkers. Their voice matters to me even when I don’t agree with them.
Second, it is flexible. Every two weeks there’s a book suggestion, but there are also bonus books in case I’ve already read the suggestion or I don’t feel like reading it at this point.
But above all? The list at The Startup Book Club looked very similar to my own reading list. I figured out, this book club can act as an external motivation for something I wanted to do anyway. I’m lazy. With the book club, I can outsource the choice of my next read to someone else. And since the list looks interesting, I know I won’t feel forced. So long, The Paradox of Choice!
The rules are simple:
- Read a book every two weeks. Pick one from the list, find it in your library, buy a paper copy, an ebook, or an audiobook. Whatever fits your lifestyle.
- Think about the consequences of what you read. Did it inspire you to act? Did it inspire you to do research? Did it feel insightful?
- Share your thoughts either on a dedicated forum or in person with others in the club.
- Learn from what you read and from what you discussed.
- Proceed with the next title.
Will you join it?
I know what you might be thinking. Cool, great books and all, but how do I manage to read an entire book in just two weeks? Well, borrow some tips from Ryan Holiday’s article on “How To Read More Books — A Lot More.”
Key takeaway: always keep some reading with you. What works for me is that I carry a paperback, an ebook, and two audiobooks. Depending on the mood I can switch between them.
For more tips, you can also borrow advice from James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits”: “How to Read More: The Simple System I’m Using to Read 30+ Books Per Year”. “Atomic Habits” is the first assignment in The Startup Book Club, by the way.
You now have all the tools to build a successful reading habit. What’s stopping you from getting the first book?
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