Why you should join the startup book club

Hello, welcome to The Startup Book Club.

Starting in 2019, we'll read one book every 2 weeks.

Each book will be chosen from the collected recommendations of startup founders, tech pioneers, and indie makers.

We'll ease into the year with short ones, and move onto the heavy stuff by the end.

26 books in one year might sound like a lot, but it won't be once you build a habit of reading.

Here's why I started it and why you should join:

I spent 2016–17 bumming around, depressed. I watched every episode of Frasier—it was a dark time.

I had a pile of books I hadn't touched in over a year—there was always some easier distraction—but eventually, I picked one up.

The book was Thinking, Fast and Slow* by Daniel Kahneman. It's a book about thinking, how we do it, our biases, and how we experience happiness. It was fascinating and extremely helpful—every few pages exposed some flaw in my thinking.

I read a bunch more books along the same vein; including Nudge*, Happiness by Design*, and Deep Work*.

✳ = Amazon Affiliate Link.

The most valuable lesson I picked up—one that seems obvious in hindsight: Don't rely on willpower and good intentions, use practical interventions instead:

  • My apartment was a mess, I needed to be clean it, but couldn't find the impetus. So I invited some friends round for dinner, that way I'd have to clean it up or face the embarrassment of them seeing my nest.

  • I made a web extension that blocks addictive websites until you finish your to-do list. Forcing me to break my habit of arguing with Twitter trolls. (I realize now they were probably Russian operatives)

  • I made my goals public and set a time limit, that way I'd be held accountable if I failed to work. This website was conceived of and launched in 21 days, and I don't think I could have done it without this strict method.

So what's this got to do with reading?

Well, we all want to read more, reading is a great habit—one that's practically universal among great thinkers and successful innovators—and yet it so hard to get done. It requires focus and an environment free from distraction—both increasingly hard to obtain.

By joining a book club, you compel yourself to read. You make a public promise to finish a book—and failing to do so would tarnish your good reputation and bring you shame!

So, if you want to read more, join the club. You'd also be doing me a big favor.

—Thanks, John

John Bartlet

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