I have 1,033 books on my Amazon.com wishlist.
I add new books to my list almost daily.
I don’t have the speed-reading skills of a superhero. How can I ever get through over a thousand books?
The answer is curation. If you can’t read every book, read only the best of the bunch.
Curation isn’t only for books. It is for other things too. If you can’t watch every movie, then watch only the best. If you can’t try every recipe, then try only the best. If you can’t play every game, then play only the best.
The problem is, the best isn’t always easy to find.
My solution is to start with the 80/20 rule. 20% of something produces 80% of the results. Start by cutting out the worst 80%. Keep the best 20%.
To find the best 20%, look for these three criteria:
- High ratings
- Interesting or useful
Here is how I would choose the best 200 books from a list of 1,000.
- Pick out the most popular 50 books. On Amazon.com, the more reviews a book has, the more popular it is. Note that some popular books may have terrible reviews. They will mix in with my best 200 books anyways. It may be worth reading just because it’s popular.
- Pick out the 50 books with the highest ratings. You might want to disqualify books with fewer than, say, 30 reviews. Or you might not. I would keep books with even one review in, to increase my chances of finding a diamond in the rough.
- Of the remaining 900 books, pick out the 100 that are most interesting or useful to you. These are books that excite you. They are books that pique your curiosity. They might not be the most popular or have the highest ratings, but you want to read them.
If you look out for these three criteria when curating content, you can come up with a top 20% list fast.
A list of 200 books can still be too much. From here you can go through the process again to bring it down to the best 40 books (and yet again to take it down to 8).
Or you can go through the list of 200 books and cherry-pick the ones you want to read. An ideal book would fit all three criteria. It would be popular, have high ratings, and interest you.