Recommend What You Read

Offer your readers your opinions of books, articles and blogs.

Especially books.

Everyone, of course, is always asking friends for advice on this or that book. And all of us look at lists of recommendations. Some of us even take those recommendations and act on them.

You’re in a position not only to share your views, but to strengthen your relationship with your readers. That’s because everyone likes to weigh in on books, movies, music – and to talk about it together, whether you agree with one’s opinion or not. And you can engage with your readers by asking their opinions of what you’ve recommended, and asking them for their suggestions.

You can do this in a few ways through your platform – which, of course, is beginning to provide you with an audience for your work.

  • First —  Suggest the books that have inspired you in your work. This can be a short list that you can add to (you don’t want to use all your suggestions at once).
  • Second — Suggest authors whose books or book you’ve liked. This will lead your readers to discover people whose interests you share or whose writings have helped your own point of view.
  • Third — Suggest books you’re currently reading, and why. Give your readers a sense of what you see in these authors, and these books, to help them understand you better, and to see where you own views might have been inspired.
  • Fourth — Break up your likes into different categories. This will give you a lot of material. For example, suggest books on finance, or books on an aspect of your own specialty (the one you’re writing about), or suggest books on interpersonal relationships, entrepreneurialism, marketing, networking, friendship, communication, writing.
    • You could also plunge deeper, suggesting philosophers you’ve liked, and a book of theirs that spoke to you (someone like Plato on the nature of reality, or Kierkegaard on personal choice and commitment), or thinkers whose message you carry with.
      • Someone like William James on free will: “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.”
      • Or Hannah Arendt on politics and totalitarianism: “Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.”

Then explain why you’ve chosen these writers, and what they mean to you.

  • Fifth — Feel free to revisit your lists every so often. As you can see, people like to read lists. It helps the writer condense his or her thoughts, and it gives the reader some quick bits of information to digest.

And your suggestions will spur a conversation with your readers – that’s what’s most important. That continuing dialogue.

Categories: General Interest

Bob Hughes
Author: Bob Hughes
Robert J. Hughes ("Bob") was a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal for over a decade, specializing in culture reporting. He was the paper's theater reporter, wrote on publishing, the art and auction markets, television, music, film and philanthropy, and reviewed books.