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Read Your Resolutions

I’m running a mini-campaign to encourage people to sign up for the new Tungsten Hippo mailing list. The tagline I chose is “Resolved to read more, but short on time? Read shorter books!” It is too early to say whether or not it will be a successful campaign, but it has got me thinking about books and New Year’s Resolutions.

Obviously, books are an important part of any resolution to “read more.” In that case, it might make sense to make it easy to set the habit by starting with unabashedly fun books like Flash Gold, The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, or How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story.

Books can also help with resolutions like “use my time more wisely” (see, for instance, Laura Vanderkam's What Successful People Do… books or my own Taming the Work Week). Anyone who has resolved to make a career change this year might find my other book, Navigating the Path to Industry useful. And people who have resolved to write that novel they've always wanted to write (or just write more) would do well to read Ann Patchett’s The Getaway Car, a book that is packed full of wisdom about writing and life in general.

Even books that are not actually advice books can help with resolutions. If you resolved to travel the world, you might contemplate the meaning of travel and get inspiration from the Travel Taster Flight. If you want to appreciate fine music more, try reading Beethoven’s Shadow. If you want to be a better friend, first contemplate the role friendship by reading Art’s Cello and The Man Who Owns Little. Finally, if you made any resolutions around being a better person, I think reading and really thinking about The Rescuers would be a great way to start.

In short, no matter what your resolution, there is probably a book to inspire you. I like the idea of reading as part of any resolution. Books can inspire and teach us, even when we think we're just reading "for fun" and new habits are easier to build with a little help and inspiration.

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