7 reading prompts for 2017, and yet another great KDD (on business books)

7 reading prompts for 2017, and yet another great KDD (on business books)

With the super-abundance of access we have to books to read, I would guess that most readers still tend to read the same types of things. That might be romance, or current events, or science fiction, or even the same authors. I have heard of someone who only read two books: Helter Skelter and Gone with the Wind, and just kept alternating them…finish one of them, start the other, finish that one, go back to the first one, and so on.

In the past, I wasn’t a big re-reader…but I have been re-reading the original 14 Oz books (by L. Frank Baum), just before I go to sleep. I’m considering a book tying into Oz, and I really want to see all the connections and detail between events of the books.

Generally, though, I think I’m a pretty eclectic reader. Regular readers know that when I was a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I think one of the best things I did was encourage (not require) my employees to read a book from every section in the store…and I did that myself.

I’d say that’s one of the things which really broadened my horizons…before that, I tended to read science fiction/fantasy and certain types of non-fiction. Now, I’m much more flexible.

“Reading prompts” are suggestions…just a way to maybe help you make a turn when you are used to going straight ahead. Hopefully, you find them inspiring. I’m not going to guarantee that doing this will make you a better person or even a better reader. I do believe that exposure to a wider variety of perspectives is healthy, but it’s entirely up to you. 🙂

Here are 7 reading prompts from me to you for 2017:

1. Read a book by someone with whom you strongly disagree

I never want to see books banned. I want people’s ideas to be out there for the public to read…if you disagree with someone, I think it should be an informed disagreement. I don’t tend to think that reading a book is going to warp you in some way, that you will be irresistibly led down the rabbit hole. Pick someone who you think is really wrong, ideally even offensive. That might be politically, but it could be philosophically or even an idea in science. This can work with their personal lives…separating the art from the artist. I understand that you may not want to give them money…it can certainly be a free book.

2. Read a type of book you haven’t read in the past year

Pick one of these types of books and read one. Maybe it will be a type you have never read, or just one you haven’t read in a while:

  • Short story collection/anthology
  • Non-fiction
  • Poetry
  • Graphic novel

3. Read a book by someone who is a complete unknown to you 

Find an author where you don’t recognize the name and have no idea who that person is.

4. Read a book first published 27 years before you were born

If you need help finding something, let me know by commenting on this post.

5. Read a book first published in a country you’ve never visited

Books are affected by the markets for which they are intended, and not just by the culture in which the author was raised (although that can affect it, too).

6. Read a novel in a genre you haven’t read in the past year

Pick one of these genres:

  • Romance
  • Science fiction/fantasy
  • Western
  • War

7. Ask someone surprising to recommend a book to you

Ask someone with whom you don’t usually discuss books to recommend a book for you to read. That could be someone at work, or maybe a friend (or somebody on public transit or at school or at the dog park…). It might take a few times asking, but go with the first recommendation which you haven’t read before. I realize that this one might be a bit scary…they may want you to discuss the book afterwards. 🙂 Let them know it’s a reading prompt, if you want. On the other hand, it’s likely to also encourage the people you ask to read…and that’s a good thing, right?

There are my seven…do you have any reading prompts for me and my readers? Feel free to let us know by commenting on this post.

Amazon has really been outdoing itself with the

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

in 2017!

It’s gone from what used to be four books a day in different (but commonly the same) genres to tens of books, some times themed.

That’s the case today: 47 titles, and I think they intend them all to be tied into books you might read to help yourself at work and in your career.

Again, there are some well-known titles here at great prices! As always, check the price before you click or tap or eye gaze (if you are in Virtual Reality) that Buy button…the prices may not apply where you are. Also, I remind you that you can buy these at the discounted price as a gift, have them sent to yourself, print them out and give the whenever (or, delay the delivery date to a specific gift-giving occasion..Amazon won’t forget, even if you might).

Here are some of the titles:

  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  • Never Split the difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
  • The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown
  • Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons
  • The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, MD
  • Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness With by Chade-Meng Tan
  • The Power of the Other by Dr. Henry Cloud
  • The Effective Manager by Mark Horstman
  • How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg
  • Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else by Jon Gordon
  • The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick M. Lencioni
  • Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works by Adam Lashinsky

That’s only a partial listing…if you’d suggest one of the others in the sale, feel free. If this did alert you to a bargain you get, I’d appreciate you letting me know. It helps me tell what helps people in the blog, and it helps your fellow ILMK readers.


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

* When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

11 Responses to “7 reading prompts for 2017, and yet another great KDD (on business books)”

  1. Phink Says:

    Funny I saw early in the post “14 Oz. Books.” I saw ’14 oz. book”. I thought “what book is he talking about that’s 14 ounces?” Even when I saw it was Frank Baum I then thought “WOW! That first OZ book is 14 ounces!” Two seconds later I did the ol’ palm to the head thing and realized I was stupid.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!


      There is a whole theory that the first book has to do with the gold standard, and that “Oz” is deliberately taken from the abbreviation for “ounce”. I don’t think that was L. Frank Baum’s intent, but it’s one of those “fan theory” things that can be interesting whether or not it is true. 🙂

      I tend to go with L. Frank Baum’s own story…that there was a file cabinet with three alphabetical drawers and the last one was labeled “O-Z”. Several people who should know have said that, although others refute it. There could have been multiple influences…here’s a Snopes analysis:


  2. Phink Says:

    I like to re-read books in part because I have a hard time retaining details of what I read. I have no idea why because I have a fantastic memory. I remember normal everyday stuff quite often from my childhood and tell folks sometimes what they said to me in a conversation years ago that they have no recollection of. However in books, I forget quickly. That makes no sense to me. I’m a good test taker because of repetition in my study habits. However, I can’t read the same paragraph of a novel 10 times just to make sure it’s in my memory bank. Therefore, when I re-read a book I still get quite a few surprises in most cases.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!


      I’d say I perhaps used to remember books better than I did real life events…since I don’t visualize the books when I read, unlike most people, it’s a lot less data to recall (no smells, sounds, or sights…just concepts). In recent years, I remember everything less well…but sometimes, still better than most. 🙂

  3. Roger Knights Says:

    One book that fits into many of your 7 categories (i.e., 2–6) for me was a $1 Kindle copy of Anne of Green Gables, at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MF0ZVEI/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title
    It’s really good, even though it’s a classic.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roger!

      That’s a very interesting final sentence! It suggests to me that classics usually aren’t good…shouldn’t that be the other way around? I expect a classic to be a superior book, although there are certainly other factors that help a book become seen as a classic.

  4. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I know a lot of us had to read books for school assignments and end up disliking the book not because it wasn’t a good book but because they didn’t like the feeling that they had to read it. My challenge would be to revisit one of those books with a more open mind to see if your opinion of it changes. For me, that would mean revisiting the obsessed Captain Ahab and that blasted white shark! Is it OK if I skip the gross details of harvesting the oil from the whale carcasses?

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      Oh man! Never post when you’re sleepy. White WHALE! Not shark!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        I have those word substitution errors, and in this case, we hear “great white shark” a whole lot more than we hear “great white whale”, so you can see how that could happen.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Yes, there are large chunks (so to speak) of Moby Dick which I would say many people could skip…although literary scholars might insist you read every word. I’m reading

      But What If We’re Wrong? (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)

      by Chuck Klosterman (a gift from a sibling and Significant Other), and there’s quite a bit in their about Moby Dick and how, effectively, contemporary readers were wrong. Klosterman isn’t arguing that the book is objectively good, but that it is evaluated that way now generally, and wasn’t then. According to Klosterman, Melville had been a successful author before Moby Dick…but that it pretty much killed Melville’s career. Think…Heaven’s Gate (the movie), and for that matter, the 1939 Wizard of Oz was initially a box office flop.

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