Why you should have a Reading List and how to create it!

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In this article I will explain why you need a Reading List and how it can help you hit your learning goals. I will also share a few different ways to structure it to fit your style and personality.

Last year didn’t go as planned, huh?

Did you realize in January that the classics you promised yourself to read last year is still unopened? That leadership book that would help you deal with challenges at work is still untouched? And that biography that would lead you to a deeper understanding of a person you admire is collecting dust on the shelf.

You are not alone!

The Antidote

It’s easy to get seduced by new shiny books and keep reading similar books on topics you already know fairly well, compared to taking on something outside our comfort zone.

Having a Reading List for the year is a great way to make sure the books you read match your overall learning goals.

Personally I don’t think I would ever would have gotten to the point of reading classic books like The Republic, Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Stoner without a planned reading list. The reading list is the main tool I use keep a straight course in a world full of reading distractions.

Why a Reading List?

A great way to stay motivated when reading is to have clear idea of what kind of ideas, themes and genres you want to explore. This is easily done by creating a Reading List of selected titles you want to read during the year.

You know you have made a great Reading List when you feel excited about the person you will become by reading the books on the list, the new mindset you will adopt, and the new perspectives you will gain.

piles of books. Reading List creation guide
Reading List helps you reach your reading goals

Making space for spontaneity – Hybrid versions of the traditional Reading List

Are you shopping for books with the gut? Well, your whole year of reading doesn’t have to be preplanned! There are hybrid versions of the traditional Reading List that you can try out:

– Set a percentage of your Reading List to be spontaneous reads.

Example: If your reading goal is 30 books in a year, then make 50% preplanned, and the other 50% “on a whim” purchases guided by your current mood.

– Choose themes over specific titles.

Example: Instead of planning the exact book titles to read you plan your reading list around topics, themes and people you want to learn about. I.e Evolutionary Psychology, Gandhi, Negotiation, Zen tradition, The French Revolution etc.

– Use quotas

A third way to think about your reading list for the year is to separate it into different sized buckets for each genre. This way you don’t have to choose the exact titles and still keep your reading focused on your personal needs and ambitions.

Example: I want to read 30 books this year:

  • 5 biographies.
  • 10 Personal Development books.
  • 7 Spiritual books.
  • 5 Classics.
  • 3 Science books.

All set! What now?

When you have the Reading List ready to go it’s time to start checking books of it. The second component needed in order to hit your reading goals is to have have a consistent reading habit. In this video I share a few tips on how to get more reading into your busy everyday life.

Reading List Examples?

I just published my 2022 Reading List and I’m in the process of refining and polishing it right now. Check it out if you want an additional example of how one can go about structuring your reading year.


Find boos to put on your Reading List on my book reviews page and the Great Books List
Video Reviews every week on YouTube

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