How to Choose a Good Book to Read: Three Simple Steps

If you have been with me for some time, you might know that I love reading nonfiction books. I believe that self-education is important, and reading books is a great way to self-educate yourself.

I’m a slow reader, though. In a typical month, I can only finish two books of average length. This is fine for me because my emphasis is on quality. Even if the book is difficult to read, if I believe that it’s the best book for my situation, I will read it. I will also spend the time necessary to get the most out of the book without getting lost in details.

I haven’t always read books this way. Years ago, I did try to read at least one book a week. But what happened? I ended up reading easy books! Instead of choosing books based on their quality, I chose books that could help me reach my quantity goal. Worse, I no longer enjoyed my reading time. It felt like a chore. That’s why I no longer read books that way. Now I emphasize quality over quantity.

Of course, that means I have to choose a good book to read. I have to choose a book that is worth my time.

How can we do that? How can we choose a good book to read?

Here are three simple steps on how to choose a good book to read.

1. Be Curious

I believe that having the right attitude is the starting point. Without it, the steps below would feel difficult. But with it, the steps below would feel natural.

What is the right attitude to have? When it comes to self-education, the right attitude is curiosity. Why? Because unlike formal education where external factors push you to learn, with self-education you need to motivate yourself. 

Curiosity is like fuel in your self-education journey. The more you have it, the further you will go. Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett once said that curiosity is an important trait they have.

2. Find Potential Books

To find a good book to read, you should collect potential books to read. In my case, I usually put them on my Amazon wish list. Then, when the price is right, I often buy them though I don’t read them right away.

How do you find these potential books?

Well, my first source is bestseller lists. There are a few bestseller lists that I check out regularly. I also follow some websites (such as GatesNotes) that often mention interesting books.

When a book captures my attention, I’ll dig deeper into it by reading its description, reviews, and table of contents. I can then decide whether or not the book is a good one for me. If it is, then I’ll add it to my list of potential books to read.

3. Choose the Best Book for Your Current Situation

With a list of potential books to read, how do you choose which one to read?

In my case, I ask myself a question: Which book would make the most difference given my current situation?

This question might seem simple, but if you use it, it can make a big difference in your personal growth. You will become more effective over time because you choose the books that can help you grow the most.

Alternatively, I ask myself this question: Which book excites me the most?

While the first question helps me choose the books that would give me practical insights, the second question helps me choose the books that would give me inspiration. This is often the case with history books. They might not give me a lot of practical insights, but they are still good to read because they can inspire me.


These three tips can help you choose books that would maximize your personal growth. You might not notice the difference right away, but over time you’d be surprised by how much you have grown.


  1. Nice and simple tips to choose a book. Thank you.

  2. I agree that curiosity is a huge driving factor that can help a lot in choosing the right books to read. I personally would like to start collecting a paranormal mystery book series soon because I’ve always been interested in stories involving fantastical concepts executed in a subtle way. Perhaps that will be a good way for me to develop a reading habit like I used to when I was younger.

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