The Delicate Art of Finding Good Books To Read

A look at the value of book recommendations in a world full of content.
The Delicate Art of Finding Good Books To Read
Thanks to technology and the breakneck speed of modern life, we live in a world where an array of opportunities to spend — and waste — time compete for our attention. We are increasingly used to having what we want, as and when we want it: fast food, fast fashion, instant gratification. But, as many of us are beginning to find, with so much choice and convenience presented to us on a platter, it’s often very hard to know what it is we actually want, and how to find it when we do. Never is this more true than when we are looking for a good book to read.

Content overload in the modern world

There are undoubtedly benefits to the ample options open to us, but the downsides to living these Insta-lives are many. It’s not just that we don’t always know what we want, the amount of choice itself can leave us feeling overwhelmed, and in some cases paralyzed.

The paradox of so much choice is that we often end up unable to decide on what’s best. Perhaps you’ve seen a new bestseller that could change the way you approach your career, or maybe you’ve heard about a new easy-to-follow meditation guide. While both are surely good books to read, your limited time schedule means you can only really commit to one this week. So, which one should it be? Throw into the mix a lingering sense of FOMO—fear of missing out—and your decision becomesdownright near impossible. You think you’ve finally settled on an option, but worry it was the wrong one. Would the other book be a better use of your time? Sometimes, this gets so confusing that we end up reading nothing at all!

That’s why good curation is essential to navigating the often overloaded world of content. An app like Blinkist makes it easy to sift through books you could potentially spend your time with, and surfaces titles that you might love based on your reading history in a gentle, calming way. With a library divided by category, curated reading lists, and recommendations based on your tastes, it becomes easy to find and prioritize the new books on your reading list. But Blinkist doesn’t just give you a recommendation: it lets you read or listen to the key ideas from that title in just about 15 minutes. That way, you can decide if you really want to invest in that book — and learn a little something along the way.

What should I read next?

Because reading a book involves time commitment, it can increase the sense of pressure we feel about choosing the right book. When we hear ourselves telling friends that we love to read but we “just don’t have the time”, are we subconsciously referring to the time it takes to sift through the endless reading options available to us and make a selection, as well as the time it takes us to read the book itself?

Ultimately the question is this: how do we know which books are really worth committing to? If we knew the answer to that, we would save time during the selection process and get the most out of the time we spend with our noses in a book. When it’s the right book, reading is one of the most rewarding and life-changing pursuits there is. This is why great book recommendations are key to a rewarding reading experience.

What should I read next?

The indisputable value of a book recommendation

Whether we want to learn about art, find our new favorite band, or discover good books to read, recommendations and curation have become a key part of making the most of life. You probably have anecdotes of your own to support the fact that word-of-mouth remains the strongest influencing factor when we’re deciding what to read next. Perhaps you can remember a book an English teacher recommended to you at school that still moves you today. Or you can recall clearly hearing an inspirational podcast about great books to read that prompted you to rush out and buy the lot.

The difference, however, between a recommendation from a friend or colleague, and one from an app like Blinkist, is that while your friends’ recommendations are based on what they like, the suggestions you get through the app are based on your tastes. Friends or acquaintances on the other hand, however well-meaning, might have totally different interests and agendas to push. It may well have been the book that changed their life, but who’s to say it will be the book that changes yours?

A book recommendation from an app like Blinkist will ensure that when you dedicate some of your evening or commute to reading a book, it’s really a book you’re going to love. Additionally, you’ll discover new authors and even genres you may never have found otherwise — all selected and suggested with your specific preferences in mind.

Why book suggestions are more accurate than reviews

We’ve all been there: trawling through dozens of book reviews as we try to figure out which purchase is worth making. While book reviews are great there’s no getting away from the fact that, like book suggestions from your friends, these reviews are just one person’s opinion, who may or may not have their own reasons for disliking or liking a book, reasons that simply don’t apply to you. How you will feel about the same book could be entirely different.

It’s not just that reviews are not tailored to your needs and wants, they are also extremely time-consuming to read and evaluate. How do you judge a book that got five stars from one reader and just one star from the next? Trawling through review after review is just another thing you don’t have time for.

Ultimately, while reviews are a useful way of getting to know some good books to read before committing to any of them lock, stock and barrel, as well as helping to satisfy that part of us that wants to know all about a book before committing to a purchase, where they fall down is both in the personalization and the time needed to read them.

“What should I read next?” Now you have the answer!

At Blinkist, we’ve worked hard to ensure that you no longer have to rely on time-consuming reviews or feel overwhelmed by the abundance of choice out there. Whether you want to advance your career or learn about a new fitness regime, our library and the titles the app recommends to you will be perfectly in tune with your needs. Time spent crawling the internet to find something that may or may not pique your interest will be a thing of the past; your spare time will be spent instead doing something you love: reading your new favourite book.

“What should I read next?” Now you have the answer!