Thursday, July 17, 2008

On suggestions

My thanks to everyone who has posted a book to the suggestions list!

All suggestions that are submitted are stored for my approval first before they show up on the suggestion list. That's in case some wise guy starts posting a few too many suggestions in the 306.77 category. Rest assured, I get all of your suggestions.

I'm planning to update the suggestion list to provide columns to give a little feedback on if a book was accepted or rejected, and why. The most common reasons I would reject a book are:
  1. Already read it, so I can't use it.
  2. Already read something in that category. One book per category, remember?
  3. I already have too many picks in that category on the book list. I don't mind having a couple choices in each category, but once I have a couple good choices I will be very reluctant to accept more.
  4. Not to be rude, but it sounds boring. This challenge is going to be hard enough as it is. I'm have to focus on fascinating books that can keep my interest.
  5. It's too long. That's a horrible reason to not read a book, but I have to have some limits. If my list fills up with 900 page volumes, this is going to take two decades, not one.
  6. My local library doesn't have it. This shouldn't happen very often, as the library is connected to a large network of bigger libraries. But if it's particularly rare or oddball, then it might happen. I'll probably leave it on the suggestion list until I can find a copy myself.
If I decide to use a book, I'll add it to the book list.

I currently have about 30 books on the book list. My goal now is to expand the list to 100 books, with coverage across all categories. This will make it easier to analyze new suggestions, and decide if they should be added to the reading list.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

158: On quitting

No, I haven't given up already. I finished my second book a few days ago, but just didn't get around to writing the review for it.

My second book is from 158, Applied Psychology. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (And When to Stick) by Seth Godin, is all about quitting at the right time. It's a quick read, but an interesting one. Godin's books tend to be short and focused on a single topic, and this one is no exception, weighing in at a mighty 80 pages.

Most new ventures, from businesses to mastering a skill, start out fun and exciting, but that doesn't last. You inevitably hit a decline. The business expands, and suddenly you're dealing with lots of hassles and less of the fun stuff. You reach a point where you're not progressing any more. What then?

The conventional wisdom is to never quit. "Winners never quit and quitters never win," as the quote from Vince Lombardi goes. Godin skewers this cliche, and amply demonstrates that there are times where it does make sense to quit, and to quit early.

It's a fun read, and recommended.