Book Recs and Tools

“The best time to plant a tree is yesterday. The next best time is today”

Here are some tools to kickstart or augment your reading habit.

Free Books

  • Gutenberg is an online library with over 60,000 free ebooks that you can read online or on your device
  • The Libby app lets you access your local library’s ebooks and audiobooks
  • Bookbub alerts you for to the surprisingly common flash sales that slash books down to $1.99 on popular sites like Amazon and Barnes N’ Noble. You can create a wishlist, specify preferred formats and booksellers.

The Morgan Housel Reading Strategy

Funnel wide, filter high. Link

Curated Book Lists

It would make sense to consider the source when someone recommends a book to you.

  1. Is that a person an expert in the topic?
  2. Do they read deeply and widely enough to have good taste?
  3. Do you agree with what they think is good or insightful?
  4. Do you like their writing? If so, you’ll probably like their influences.
  5. The meta factor –do they think about their book selection or actual reading process?

The following people check those boxes for me, so I’m sharing their recommendation lists.

  • Patrick O’ Shaughnessy: The Best “Per Page” BooksLink
  • Venkatesh Rao: Current and All-Time Reading listLink
  • Scott H. Young: Best Books by Topic. Link
  • Shane Parrish: What Books Would You Recommend Someone Read to Improve their General Knowledge of the World? Link

List of lists: Bill Gates, Oprah, Carl Sagan, and many more

  • From How It Actually WorksLink
  • From Most Recommended BooksLink


MS One Note: It has the ability to convert image to text. So if you take a picture of a page from a physical book you can have a digital copy. Great for saving highlights, taking notes, stashing blurbs without needing to transcribe by hand.

Instanovels: The New York Public Library is using the slow-drip IV of Instagram to deliver classic novels. Story here.

Reading Speed

Speed reading is widely debunked as the converted Scott Young explains here. I took a reading test and despite my perfectly average reading speed of 400 wpm that still means reading a book every 1 to 2 weeks is possible. Here’s a test and reading times for various classics based on your speed.