How to choose books?

There are millions of books published worldwide every year. Most of them are not worth your time and you will need some good tools to filter through this vast amount of publications.

The long tail and the importance of filter

I really realized the importance of filters after reading Chris Anderson's book The Long Tail. Anderson describes the "long tail" as the never-ending tail of a sale per product graph (there are a huge number of products of which only a few copies are sold, but together they form a huge market). While the market was dominated by hits from the mid-20th century, since the 1990s products that would never have appeared in stores before (because they do not generate concentrated demand) can be purchased online, since online markets are not restricted by limited shelf space or high storage costs. A prerequisite for the long tail are efficient filters (e.g. tags, customer reviews) that enable customers to easily find the niche product they are looking for. Anderson distinguishes between two types of filters. Traditional preliminary filters (talent or product scouts) try to make predictions about the success of brands and products. For a long time they were the only filters used by industry and retail. With the Internet economy, subsequent filters (customer reviews) became possible, which measure the actual success of products. And precisely because the number of offers for the consumer is increasing, filters against this noise will continue to increase in importance. Imagine you want to find songs from an exotic subcategory in a database with two million songs. You used to be able to browse through a comparatively manageable range in the music store. Their niche couldn't even exist. Today it is possible for them to find their desired niche if the appropriate filter exists and the song is properly marked (tagged). The more noise (information irrelevant to the buyer) a market produces, the higher the demand for filters will be.

Read more about the lindy effect as a filter here.

Selection criteria to choose your next books

There are many selection mechanisms for books. Here are the four most important:

  1. Age: the older a book, the more established it is and more likely to be relevant in the future
  2. Author: If the author is a scholar or he has real-world experience and skin in the game, there is a greater chance that his or her books will be relevant for your life.
  3. Topic: current trend topics will soon no longer be relevant. Books on Timeless themes will continue to be read in the future
  4. Path emergence: Whoever starts with a good book receives many references to further good books and can thus explore the book landscape in a natural way.

Selection criteria one, two and three, filter out a large number of books, but path emergence is a method that is more like a strategy than a criterion. The condition for path emergence to be successful is to start with a really good book, a book that you are fully convinced of. Starting with the right books means setting out on a path. More great books will appear as your reading path progresses. I call this path emergence.

You can start discovering great books on to begin your new book journey.

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