Three Reasons to Diversify Your Reading and How to Do It

Last month I was in vacation mode, so I switched to lighter reading. I read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson followed by Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising.

But, rather than just taking lighter books to read, that is also part of my plan to diversify my reading. Here are three reasons why we should diversify our reading:

  1. Avoid boredom
    I don’t know about you, but reading the same topics again and again makes me bored. Even for topics I’m passionate about, I will be more refreshed if I also read other topics once in a while. 
  2. Arbitrage knowledge
    The art of arbitrage is important for living smart, and diversifying your reading allows you to do knowledge arbitrage. Knowledge arbitrage means taking ideas from one field to be applied to another field. If you read only one or two topics, it’s difficult to do that.
  3. Cross-pollinate ideas
    Continuing the idea of arbitrage, not only can you borrow ideas from other fields, you can also combine ideas from different fields. Often it will give you “original” ideas since nobody has seen such combination before. Of course, you can only cross-pollinate idea if you have different kinds of idea to begin with, and that’s why you should diversify your reading.

Now, having seen the benefits, there is a trait that will greatly help you build the habit of reading diversely, and that is curiosity.

If you are curious, you will find it interesting and challenging to pick various topics to read. Curiosity will make reading diversely effortless. On the other hand, lack of curiosity will make reading diversely burdensome.

To ensure the diversity of your reading, you should also develop a reading plan. While you can always alter the plan later to accommodate new interests and insights, at least it gives you a clear direction to begin.

Here are three steps to develop a reading plan:

1. List the topics

The topics here depend on your preferences. If you are an artist, diverse topics may mean different topics of art in addition to some non-art topics. For people who are not artist, the whole art could be just a single topic. For yet another people, art is perhaps not even on their list. So, again, it depends on you.

Nowadays, I read mostly business, personal growth, and sometimes spiritual books, but I’d like to add more topics to my reading.  So here are the topics I come up with:

  1. Personal growth
  2. Business
  3. Spiritual
  4. History
  5. Science
  6. Fiction
  7. Classic

Having seven topics is perhaps not so diverse, but that’s a manageable start for me.

2. List the candidate book titles for each topic

After creating the list of topics, you should populate it with the books that you may want to read for each topic. For example, here is mine:

  1. Personal growth
    On Writing Well
  2. Business
    Marketing for Dummies, Moneyball
  3. Spiritual
    Become a Better You
  4. History
    Essential Visual History of the World
  5. Science
    A Short History of Nearly Everything
  6. Fiction
    Deception Point
  7. Classic
    The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Again, the books you choose and the way you classify them are personal. For instance, you might not agree that I put On Writing Well under personal growth, but that’s convenient for me. Do what works for you.

3. Count the books you have read for each topic and keep the counters balanced

There could be a case where you list books in diverse topics but end up reading just one or two topics. To prevent this, you can count the book you have read for each topic and try to keep the numbers balanced. While it’s fine to give more attention to one or two topics, you should ensure that you also read the other topics.


You can do more steps than these three, but for the purpose of diversifying reading, only these three are essential.

As you can see, the reading plan helps you ensure that your reading is diversified. Otherwise, it’s far too easy to just read the usual topics.

Photo by Ian Wilson


  1. […] in Books, Daily life, Education at 10:12 am by LeisureGuy Make a plan, and here’s […]

  2. I’m an avid ready myself and I strongly believe having a diverse base to choose from is key to overall growth and development.

  3. Michael,
    I agree with you. I want to have a balanced growth in my life, and diverse reading is one way to achieve it.

  4. I highly recommend Moneyball! It fulfills all three of your reasons to diversify reading as well as being a fun read!

    Thanks for the tips for diversifying! I find I go into periods where I only read about one subject. You tips might help me with that.

  5. I’m glad you recommended Moneyball. Since there are many books to choose from, I’m not sure if it’s a good choice. Your recommendation helps convince me 🙂

  6. […] Life Optimizer had a great post last week that explained three reasons why diversifying your reading is a shortcut to brains-building. […]

  7. […] Optimizer had a great post last week that explained three reasons why diversifying your reading is a shortcut to brains-building. 1. Avoid boredom I don’t know about you, but reading the same topics again and again makes me […]

  8. […] spirit of diversifying my genre intake…  Here’s a nice little post on that topic from Life Optimizer.  Looks like he will be enjoying Moneyball soon, […]

  9. I am all for a diversified reading, I am an avid/voracious reader myself. I collect interesting blog posts/ articles like this one in my blog so other people can benefit by reading them. Linked to from my blog!

  10. […] Three Reasons to Diversify your Reading and how to do it – Link. […]

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