Reading has never been easier－when you can think of a title and have it downloaded into your device built and meant for reading in under a minute－and yet harder－facing an ocean of choices for every single genre and topic you can think of. But the problem here is obviously not only choosing the right book to read; if you are looking for say, a pasta sauce, go to the shelf of any grocery store or supermarket and you will face the choice of at least over 20 different flavours; Type in “RPG” in your phone’s appstore or Play market, and you will be shown a lifetime equivalent of video games (if you play them all) standing in a scroll-down list competing for your 20-second attention. We are living in an age of far too many choices－to the point that it almost feels just wrestling through the process of choosing to land at the right choice is far too exhausting to begin with.
Facing such difficulties, people respond in mainly three ways.
Some of them just surrender. Reading is never interesting anyway, as it is in school, they say. “Why not watch some more TV instead?” As a result, this sort therefore never read anything outside their work or the paper, or Facebook.
Some are better. They do not give up right away. Instead they play smart. They follow the footstep of others－they read reviews. “If everyone on Amazon is saying this one is good, it must be.” Or they listen to the famous voices. “If Jennifer Lawrence is reading this, it must be awesome! So I’ll read it, too.” This sort does read books, but they only read those everyone has told them to－ everyone except themselves. So they are often disappointed. Or confused.
The last sort is different. They think differently and act differently. They understand that like in every other aspects of life, others’ opinions are only opinions－they can never replace one’s own conclusion after researching on the matter, taking the effort to reason, and making sense of the data collected. They do things with a plan－one they come up by themselves and decide for only themselves－and follow it, allowing improvisation and flexibility while making sure they do not stray from the original objective. No matter they can always manage to find the right reads tailored for themselves, even faced with the ocean of choices on the topic they seek for. They are free－of the noises, clutter and illusions. They are the free readers.
The following 9-step cycle is a template you may consider, if you follow the idea, and aspire to be one of the last sort of readers－the best sort possible.
9 Steps to Finding the Interesting Read
- Define ‘interesting’. Done? Good. Now we are in business.
- Write down 10 things that you think fit your definition of ‘interesting’. For me, at this moment, it would be “frugal living”, “economics”, “happiness”, “learning methodology”, “video game philosophy”, “writing”, “blogging”, “freedom”, “sex”, and “Taoism”.
- Go to Amazon and start searching with these terms you come up with.
- Click inside any title that catches your attention. Read the introduction. Read some reviews.
- If the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, seek for those critical ones specifically to see the fuller picture.
- If you are still interested, download a sample of the title to your Kindle.
- Read through the sample.
- Buy and proceed to read the whole title or simply ditch it.
- Repeat the process if 8 gives you the negative result, or if you want more ‘interesting’ reads on your Kindle.
And two additional ideas:
Ideally, if you like what you read, you will want to read other works by the same writer, and that would keep you busy (and satisfied) for a while.
Furthermore, you can note down the concepts/notions that interest you during the reading process, and use these to find other reads.