297: Right Book, Right Time

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Happy Monday!

Not much new this week, so let's hop in.

Right Book, Right Time

I spent a few weeks at the end of last year reading heavily, and allocated a decent chunk of that time to re-reading books I'd read in the past.

What stood out to me with re-reading was how important time and setting are for reading a book.

Some of the books I had rated very highly when I first read them, I'd now rate somewhere in the middle or even low. "Money Master the Game," for example, I couldn't get through at all when I revisited it. But I remember rather enjoying it on the first read.

The same was true for Sovereign Individual. Fantastic book on the first read. Meh on the most recent read.

I suspect part of it is because books can introduce you to new ideas or new ways of thinking, but if you're already bought into those ways of thinking or understand the mental models, they might seem dull or uninspiring.

Or you might be in a certain head space when you read a book that dramatically shifts your perspective, and when you return to it you're not in that same headspace, so it doesn't impact you nearly as much.

Other books I found were still just as good as the first time I read them. "Awaken the Giant Within" was great on the second read. So was "The War of Art" and "Turning Pro." Now I'm re-reading "The Psychology of Money" and it's just as good as the first time.

I think in order to give and receive good book recommendations, we need to try to understand the context of the person receiving the recommendation. Asking someone for their favorite book or what books they recommend isn't very helpful, because there's no context for the recommendation. Asking someone something like "what books helped you build your initial understanding of personal finance" or "what books helped you go all-in on your new career move" can get us much closer to finding the right book at the right time.

I suppose an opposite of this idea is also true: highly recommended books that you didn't enjoy at all, you might enjoy at a different time or in a different headspace. If you're trying to read something other people seem to love but it's just not speaking to you, maybe you're not in the right headspace.

And maybe another good question to ask is "what books have you re-read the most?" I think mine is Antifragile. Though, I tried to re-read it recently, and didn't enjoy it! Maybe because I already "get it." But it goes to show that what books speak to you changes with the seasons, and it's worth revisiting old favorites to see how much you've changed in relation to them.

Have a great week,


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