As an agile coach I try to apply agile principles to a lot of parts of my life.
One of these places is reading books.
As you can see on my libarything or my kindle read page, I read a lot of books.
95% of these books are non-fiction.

I love reading and I also love my time.
When I read a book and I don’t have the right state of mind for that book. I stop reading it. Then I select another book that has a better match with my mood.

To do this with dead-tree books, I needed at least 3 books in my backpack.
And a few dozens at home. To be able to select what I want to read when I started reading a new book, I bought almost every book that interests me immediatly.

The problem with this, is that it costs me a lot of money at a moment I did not have time for a book. In lean we would call this inventory.
This invenory becomes waste when a new version of the book comes out before I have read it. (I have at least 10 books like that in my library)
Its even worse when a I loose interest in a book before I read it.
This happens (a lot) when it’s a book about a technology that I no longer use.

When I bought my kindle I changed my buying pattern. My kindle offers me the opportunity to buy a book whereever I am. And I have the book, in less then a minute on my kindle.

To keep track of the books I want to read, I download the sample of the book.
I have at this point 194 sample books on my kindle. I know because I add them to a category “ToRead”.
When I want to start to read a new book, I read the sample book. If it is what I want to read, I buy the book and add it to a category “Reading”. (I remove the sample book at that time.)
When I have read the book, I add it to a categoy “Read”.

The effect is that I never buy books anymore that I don’t read.
Except for the books that don’t exist on kindle. Yes I still buy some of those, but unfortunately for these authors, I don’t read them. [hint hint]

Although this looks bad for the book business, I don’t think it is. I actually read a lot more books then before. And books that I have read are books that I recommend. (OK only if I like them 😉 )

Now I don’t only limit the number of books I ‘m buying, because I have a category with books I’m reading, I am reminded about the other books I am reading.
When I want to read something else, I have more chance of restarting one I already started.
Because it is visual I now try to limit myself to reading 6 books at the same time.

Let’s recap what agile idea’s I’m using to read more books:

Reducing waste
Limit read/books in progress
Stop starting, start stopping
Visual Management

9 Responses to “Agile bookreading”

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  4. […] is a tough question. I am usually reading several books at once — so I will just mention the last book with the most impact — Carol Dweck’s […]

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  6. […] I am), but I’ve spent more of my adult life in education than many people that I know. I’m a HUGE consumer of books. Books on technology, social media, and software development are my daily reads. Frankly, one of […]

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  8. […] also have a bunch of other books that are in progress (bad habit) or that are sitting idle on my desk. You can check them all out in my Reading List on […]

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