Books Reviews

A Note About Reviews

I score books on a seven point scale 1–7. I try and have these correspond to:

7. A masterpiece

6. Very good

5. Good not great.

4. Could take or leave it

3. Bad but not terrible

2. Without any literary value

1. Actively impeded my development of a human

Sometimes I'll go back and change my rating later based if I find a book has made more of an impact on me than was immediately apparent. Most books I read get above a 4 on my scale. This is no accident — I try to read good books. If you do don't agree with my rating about a particular book and you have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. I can be reached at

Taking Recommendations

A few years ago I stopped picking my own reading. Left to my own judgement I would choose books from a narrow set of favored genres. While I enjoy reading per se, I also use it as a means of self-improvement, and I was stagnating by reading such a limited selection of books. Now, I get my reading almost exclusively though recommendations.

I take books and I put them on the books "to read" list, then I work my way through the list. Generally, I am looking for unsolicited recommendations made directly to me. However, these criteria are flexible; sometimes I will take generalized or solicited recommendation. Through trial and error I found a few truths:

  • Asking people about the best book people have ever read often results in people recommending the most pretentious book they have ever read.

  • Some people will try to recommend me dozens of books or the complete works of authors. This amounts to substituting my preferences for someone else's and defeats the purpose of taking recommendations.

  • People will sometimes recommend things they themselves have not finished or even started.

  • People appreciate when you read what they recommend, and love to talk about it afterwards.

To combat the aforementioned problems, I have a few rules for taking recommendations:

  • Recommendations should not be refused just because I do not want to read the book.

  • There shouldn't be more than one book by any one recommender on the "to read" list at a time.

  • I should not take recommendations for books that people have not personally finished.

  • Books only come off the "to read" list by being read

So far with these rules, I've been extremely pleased with the results. I have encountered books that I would never have thought to pick up on my own.