Rules For Choosing Books

What Book Should I Read?

Need help choosing what book to read next? Here are some general rules to get you going:

Rule 1: Read what you Love

Choose books about topics you love. That is the absolute best way to ensure interest.

Rule 2: The Taleb Rule

When asked by a student for a rule on what to read, Nassim Nicholas Taleb replied:

As little as feasible from the last 20 years, except history books that are not about the last fifty years.

Rule 3: The Lewis Rule

C.S. Lewis once said:

It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.

Rule 4: The Failure Rule

Again from Taleb – “You learn from accounts of failures much more than those of successes.” A good rule of thumb – read the book that tells how someone lost a million dollars over a book that tells how someone made a million dollars.

Rule 5: The Suffering Rule

Choose books by authors who have suffered. They have learned lifetimes of lessons in short, painful periods. They have much to teach us.

Rule 6: Consult Lists

You should only consult lists of the “Best Books” or the books others suggest you read after exhausting the first three rules. Best of lists (of which this website is based upon) can be helpful to get you started, but may skew towards new books and may have you chasing after what others think you should read rather than what you want to read.

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