How to find good books to read next

If you are a book lover, you would like this article. I am going to tell you how I find books that go into my to read list. Since our time on earth is limited, and there are so many books to choose from, we would be wise to pick the better quality books to fill our literary diet. Assuming we could read 1 book per week, which is not a bad rate considering our busy lives, we could read 52 books a year, and 52 * 80 = 4160 books in our life time, if we live to 100 years old and start at age 20. The books could be the bible, comic books, scholarly tome, escapist book.

First, is the bookstore. You could go walk around in a bookstore, looking around for what is on the shelves, or on the top selling books shelves. If you want to be convenient, you could browse online bookstores, many bookstores have online website nowadays. Some of my favorite are Kinokuniya, Book Depository. For Malaysian, GerakBudaya contains some underground Malaysian books.

Kinokuniya Singapore
Kinokuniya Singapore. Source:

Secondly, get recommendations from people. I like Bill Gates’ book recommendation, or Obama’s, or some notable people whom I respect. Some more examples are New York Times bestseller list, Quora recommendations, Five Books. I did this by googling. Try to google for “book list” or “book recommendation”.

Bill Gates Books list
Bill Gates Books list. Source:

Thirdly, get recommendations from websites. Some websites such as Goodreads lets you catalog books you have read, wants to read, or currently reading. You can also see what your friends and other people are reading, share quotes from book, discuss about books, it is sort of like a social media for book worms. Another good thing is, the website has recommendation system, the algorithm will shifts through your ratings of books, and recommend what books you would like based on similarity or other factors. Other websites such as Amazon, Google Books has such recommendation system built in.

Goodreads. Source:

Fourthly, get recommendations from prizes. There are many book prizes out there that awards great books. You could look for such book prizes and mine through the winners to choose which books you like. Examples of book prizes are Royal Society book prize (science), Hugo Award for Best Novel (sci-fi), Goodreads Choice Award, etc. Goodreads has good lists of book prizes.

Hugo Awards
Hugo Awards. Source:

Lastly, if you want some technical books or some academic books, you could check out university publishers or press’s websites, example, Oxford University Press. If you want academic books that are not for lay people, you can google online for university syllabus, search for “site:*.edu leadership syllabus”, replace “leadership” with whatever technical term you want,¬†for leadership, you could get Harvard Kennedy School MLD325: Becoming A Leader¬†syllabus on leadership. Or if you are a computer science student, you could get Computer Science syllabus with the standard textbooks.

Oxford University Press logo
Oxford University Press logo. Source: Oxford University Press

Update (10/Feb/2017):

Look for books recommended in the references/ further readings section of a book. Authors often leave references to books or papers at the end of their book. If you like a particular book, this is good place to get a reading list of the subject.

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