How to pick books that you actually like

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Deciding what books to read can be a challenge. So many books, bestsellers and many people are self-publishing books  – good and bad nowadays. But there are definite steps to take to ensure the books you order do have a chance to be relevant to you.

Here are the things worth considering. 


I mostly read business books these days in my day-to-day, but also like crime thrillers ala Freida McFadden’s books. Interests certainly are a personal choice, and not all book recommendations are created equal. Especially ones out of context. Somebody might like a book and even would recommend it, but if that doesn’t align with my interests, what’s the point? I won’t enjoy it. 

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer here, but knowing what you are interested in reading is a good start.

Read next: Page-turners: 12 Marketing books to read

What’s your goal?

Everything comes back to a goal. That could be:

  • The need to relax
  • Wanting to learn something
  • Mindless content consumption
  • Other

Whatever the goal, it’s good to understand it, so we can pick the right kind of books for ourselves.

Look at reviews

Once you have zeroed in on what books you want to read, start looking for what are some popular books out there in the niche of books that you are interested in.

The more people like the books you are browsing the lower the chance that it’s a bad book – in theory.

Looking at the rank of books can be helpful. Amazon lists this at the bottom of each book page. Also look at the number of reviews. Reviews can be hard to come by, so the more reviews – especially positive ones – a book has, the better it likely is.

Read next: Amazon star ratings: How Amazon calculates star ratings for different countries

Watch author interviews

Many authors do interviews, appear on podcasts and speak at conferences. For example, I interview authors on my livestream from time to time.

See if you like their philosophy in general – especially for business books. Now, just because somebody is a good public speaker that doesn’t make they are a good writer. But it’s a start to see what they are about.

Size matters

Just because a book has many pages, doesn’t make it a good book. But a super short book might not go as deep into the topic as you need it to. On Amazon, you can see the page count on the book page. I try not to buy books from unknown-to-me authors that are under 100 pages. 

How you can tell how many pages a book has

Take a peek inside

On Amazon, you can often take a peek inside before picking a book. That allows you to see if you like the style, layout and take a look at the chapters to see if the topics resonate with you. Again, this is especially helpful for business books.

Consider cost

Some books certainly cost more than others, but just because one is expensive that doesn’t mean it’s better. I also delay my prime deliveries on Amazon to get discounts on Kindle books that I want to buy. So that’s another option to bring down the cost of books. The danger of picking a book that’s free or a dollar is certainly much less than buying a hardcover book for $35.

Try Kindle Unlimited

If you read a lot of books – or even if you start a lot of books, it might be worth signing up for Kindle Unlimited on Amazon to bring down the cost. 

Kindle Unlimited

Listen up: Try audiobooks

Another option might be to listen to books on your commute, while working at home or even at the gym with Audible.

signup for audible

Consider what type of book you prefer

Not all book types are for all people. For example, I published a guide to who would prefer the Kindle version of my latest book and who would prefer the paperback version.

Which version of the book is best?

Each version has advantages and disadvantages so let me share my thoughts here so you can pick the right one.

The paperback is great when you want to use the exercises within the book and want to use the provided space to brainstorm and reflect.

The Kindle version is great for space reasons as you don’t have to carry a physical book. It’s certainly harder to do the written exercises on the Kindle version, but you could use a piece of paper or the notes section on your device.

The hardcover is perhaps a bit more of a collector item. Consider getting that when you are going to hear me speak at a conference and stop by after to get it signed.

Reading lamps

If you do like to read a physical book, make sure you have the right setup, which includes a good reading lamp. Here are some examples that you could consider. Click on each image to learn more.

Picking a book that’s worth reading and worth the money is probably harder now that ever has been with the abundance of books out there. I hope these steps help you make that process easier.

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