A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. — Henry David Thoreau
If a book doesn’t inspire you or motivate you to act, than it is of purely entertainment value and a simple use of time. The old cliche is that the pen is mightier than the sword. Ideas are powerful. Books have the power to change you for the better, or for the worse. All great books do a good job of changing your perspective. And a perspective change is what often causes a habit change. When you see the world in a different light, you can begin to act differently, and see results you have only dreamed of. This is why you must read books that are worth reading if you hope for positive change at all.
There are many ways to find out whether a book is worth reading or not. Unless you are a speed reader, you will spend many hours reading a book, and possibly not know it is worth your time until you are done with it. So here are a few ways to go about finding quality books.
- DO judge the book by it’s cover. Is it “overly” designed? Does the design detract from or add to the title? Does the title make sense? Does it seem hyped or genuine? Oftentimes, some of the best books have very unattractive covers.
- Look for the author’s credentials. Is he school or street educated? Or both? What is his history? Where did she work? What kind of role are they in now? I personally prefer to read authors who are still working in their industry yet also do consulting and/or teaching on the side.
- Read the book’s description. Once again, does it seem hyped or does it layout a good framework for the truth to be found inside? Is it simple and to the point? A well thought out description takes a lot of time to do well. If it is good the book is often genuine and worth reading.
- Check out the references and testimonials. How many are there? Who are they? Do you know any of them? If it is someone whose work you have read before and liked, you will probably like the work they are promoting. What are their credentials? A book backed up by many good references is a book that is often worth reading.
- Read the Table of Contents. Does anything resonate with you? Do the chapters make sense? Does it seem well organized? I personally need 3-5 of the chapters to really hit me for me to buy the book.
- Read the Preface and/or Foreword. Many books don’t include a preface or foreword, but the ones that do get extra points. The reason being is that a preface is written by another author. If I know and respect the author, they get bonus points.
- Check out the Intro. Don’t read it all, but skim through it. Do any ideas pop out at you? Once again, does it resonate with you? The intro is the place to put some of your best ideas to get people excited about the rest of the book. If the author fails to include a single great idea in the intro then it is probably not worth reading.