A good friend of mine poked me with an interesting question: “What is your strategy for picking what book to read first?”
I thought about the question for a while and had to conclude; I don’t read and learn with a predefined plan.
Of course, it's not completely blindfold. I don’t pick the first book I see on a shelf in a bookstore. Generally speaking, I follow the advice of people I admire online. From some people, I can follow their reading advice blindly because I know they have the same taste as me. If friends tell me to read a certain book, I will ask them: “What did you learn from this book specifically?”. This functions as a good filtering mechanism. Finally, I always read some reviews on Goodreads before deciding to add a book to my list.
Apart from following other people and reading some reviews, I don’t have a strategy for what to read first other than following my energy. When I first started to read more I picked up advice from Naval: “Read what you love, until you love to read”. But now that I have developed a reliable reading habit, I feel that there is a need to make some adjustments.
The way I currently learn is built around curiosity. I don't say that this is a bad strategy. There should always be room for serendipity and surprise. The surprise is well built in my systems already. I can obtain surprise in conversation. Twitter can be surprising. I know that surprise won’t disappoint me, because I am a curious learner.
But that voracious appetite for new concepts comes at a downside: lack of focus. And it's this lack of focus that holds me back to go deeper into topics. So as my friend and I concluded:
“I need a system for my curiosities.”
To tackle this quest, I will start to learn with a plan. Every 90 days I will choose 1 to 3 topics to focus on for that period. Whether it be personal finance, writing, design, programming or drawing. For 90 days I will deep dive in those topics.
To determine what to read I will do some research to find the best articles, podcasts, books, and courses on that topic. By making a learning schedule you can prosper your focus in the right direction. I will keep track of the hours invested and make detailed notes along the way.
I will be more fastidious in choosing what I read, watch and learn. Of course, there is still room for curiosity, and I will follow my energy accordingly. But above all I shall learn with a plan.