Building a Great Personal Library

BooksSome simple principles that have helped me start building a great personal library.

My aim is to build a collection of books that are worth reading, and re-reading.

Know the Value of Books

Books can be a valuable aid to living a rich and worthwhile life, but they can also be a distraction. Owning a book we’ll never read (or read again) is an investment in waste.

My goal is to build a great life, not a great library. For this reason:

  • I read books that will actually enhance my life, rather than to impress other people.
  • I don’t buy books because they are cheap, but because they are valuable

Read Only The Best

There are many, many really good books in the world, but life is too short to read even a fraction of this number. A great library is defined, not by the great books that are in it, but by the mediocre books that are left out.

  • I don’t have time to read books that are merely good; only books that are great.
  • Nothing but the best of the best belongs on my bookshelf.

Read Widely

Different areas of life can be fed by different types of literature.

Much of my reading falls into three broad categories:

Seek Recommendations

If I’m not sure what to read, I ask someone. Then I ask someone else. Ideally, I only read a book if it has been recommended by at least three people whose opinion in that area I respect.

If I’m not sure who to ask, I seek out an on-line community that specialises in that area and ask there.

Above All, READ!

If you’re not reading, ignore everything I’ve said. It really doesn’t matter what you read as long as you read something!