I’ve read over 300 books since the beginning of 2011, not counting the many I started but didn’t finish and the endless content we all read online.
I’ve read about topics ranging from Buddhism to business, philosophy to physics, and writers ranging from feminists to pick-up artists (and even Trump’s “Art of The Deal.”) I’ve read old books, new books, books with illustrations and fancy charts, a lot of books from which I got nothing and a handful of books I still love. 90% of this was non-fiction.
Here’s what I’ve learned in all that reading time — and some of my favorite books from my 20’s.
(1) Truly good books are few and far between — and so they’re priceless
There are two camps of “good books” and both of them are rare.
- The first is good content. They deliver a message that stands on its own. The writing only needs to be good enough to allow you to follow.
- The second is good craft. It doesn’t matter as much what the content is because the writing is so goddamn beautiful it all but sings off the page.
(Writing that offers both, it should be said, is the incredibly rare and precious gem indeed.)
When it comes to choosing between them, as we must, I prefer the former over the latter. I’m not here to be romanced.
Here’s one such excerpt. You obviously don’t have to read it.
Regardless of which direction you go, though, the truly good book is a thing to cherish.
(2) Conversely: there’s a lot of garbage out there
My least favorite books are what I call “bullshit business books” — the theoretical fluff written by people who have never directly done the thing.