Jeremy Zilar is the Content Strategist and Blog Specialist at The New York Times where he has overseen the launch of over 200+ blogs and real-time news publishing.
I pick up a lot of interesting books in a year. Most of them I find on the free book tables here at the Times or if I am lucky, and editor will pass along something that is worth reading.
Most of the books I pick up are nonfiction, of which I read through the first few chapters or until the author starts to repeat themselves. Obviously, if the book is really good, I keep going.
A few years ago, I came up with a simple rule:
Only pick up a book that you’ve seen or heard about three times.
This keeps me from having too many books that I dont read, and it keeps down the urge to hoard good books for the sake of having good books around that I never end up reading. I figured that if I have seen a book three times, or I have heard people talk about a book on three separate occasions, I am very likely to be very interested in reading the book and can better assess if I have the time to read at least the first two chapters.
Not all of the books I pick up are passed by this rule. Some are bought on first sight. These are usually books that strike a chord in me or are so inline with what I am working on that it would be stupid of me to not buy the book at that very moment.
So I have decided to start making a list, not of all the books that I read in a year, but of the ones that are worth talking about or linking to.