On Book Reviewing

Piles of books.  Many piles of books.  If you begin to do a lot of book reviews, you get a lot of books.

Let me describe the piles:

  1. One foot to the left of me is a pile of 13 unread books.  After I finish reading a book, and put it into the “Write about,” or “Maybe write about” piles, I choose a book from the pile to read.  Whatever seems most interesting I read next.
  2. Two feet to my right is the “Write about” pile.  You will see those written up here.  There are six books there.
  3. Three feet to my left are two piles of about 25 books each of books that I have reviewed, or rejected.  Mostly, they have been reviewed.
  4. Five feet to my left are 23 books that I have fully read but will not review.  I hand out unfavorable reviews rarely.  Roughly half of the books are okay, but they are nothing great.  The rest are harmful, boring, etc.
  5. 30 feet behind me, in my bedroom, I have a whole bookcase holding books that I have reviewed.

When I started writing at Aleph Blog, I had no intention of doing a lot of book reviews.  It has worked out to be 9% of all of my posts, which is pretty significant.  I never dreamed that I would be a highly-ranked reviewer at Amazon.com — I’m in the top 2000, and I appreciate what votes my readers give me.

I get books four ways:

  1. They come unsolicited.
  2. The publisher contacts me, and asks me if I want a given book.
  3. I ask the publisher for a book, and they send it to me.
  4. I add books to my Amazon wish list, and buy them when my kids have a small order, in order to get free shipping.

Which brings up pile six, two feet to the left of me, books that I have purchased, but I have not read.  This competes with pile one.  I try to read the most interesting book at my disposal so that I can write the most useful stuff for my readers.

If I think of more, I will write a second part to this post, but that is all for now.

 

1 Comment

  • Doug says:

    David, when do you have time to re-read the classics? Not just investment classics (Graham & Dodd, Bodie, Kane & Markus, Intelligent Investor), but also the classics of life (Homer, Plato, Augustine, Dickens, Tolkein)? Not to mention the Book of Books!

    As an investor and a homeschool dad I am constantly adjusting my reading list. I *have* to stay current, but so much that is written today is a poor derivative of some timeless truth that has been told elsewhere, more eloquently, and more accurately. We are *always* adjusting our own reading lists, but we keep coming back to the Classics.

    So many books, so little time.

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