Three Book Diet

I’ve mentioned it before that I really enjoy reading but have found myself consuming too much information without applying it. There are dozens of books that I’ve read, all of which had good ideas for my life or business, but I haven’t put the work in and took action on those ideas.

With the birth of Piper and entering a busy period in Little Stream Software’s client services, I’m finding that I’m placing a higher standard on how I spend my time. Which means that my non-fiction reading list isn’t getting as much time as it used to.

But at the same time I don’t want to stop growing my knowledge…

3 Book Diet

Then I came across a post (event?) by Chris Brogan called the 3 Book Diet. Basically for an entire year he is limiting himself to only reading 3 books. This means he will be reading each book multiple times and digging deeper into each one (and theoretically putting the book’s ideas into action more).

My changes

I’ve decided to do the 3 Book Diet, with a few modifications:

  • I’ve picked 3 non-fiction books I can read.
  • I can only read those non-fiction books for the next few months (3? 6? I don’t know how long yet).
  • I can read unlimited fiction or novels. These are pleasure reading and how I fall asleep.
  • An exception will be made for two non-fiction baby books I have. I’ve already started them and one is a month-by-month book.

My 3 books

After a few weeks of thinking about my picks, the three books I decided on:

  1. Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I’ve read this book already and I really enjoyed the mechanical aspect of building habits. I’ve been adding and removing habits for a few years now but like most people I struggle with them. I’m hoping by digging deep into the Power of Habit, I can build the habit of habit change. #meta
  2. How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book is a classic but I last read it back in 2001 or 2002. The title is a bit off-putting but the content is great, especially if you have to communicate or work with humans.
  3. 30×500 lessons by Amy Hoy. Yes, this isn’t technically a book but there is more meaty content here than many “real” business books. I’m hoping by revisiting these lessons I’ll improve my product building skills and figure out why Chirk HR isn’t growing like I planned.

I have high hopes for this little experiment. Worst case, I’ll get bored of reading 3 great books and want to read something new when it’s over. Best case, by really mastering what each book teaches I’ll be able to make dramatic improvements in those areas of my life.

Stay tuned, I’d like to revisit this post with some results later.


  1. David Strauß says:

    Thanks for sharing this! It helped me articulate a problem I could never put my finger on. The “Getting It Done” line is a great explanation for my attitude.

    But I am afraid that doing this for books only is not enough, a least for me. I catch myself doing the same with articles on the web. I read them, I think it’s great and more or less forget the step where I implement the stuff I just read.

    For example this article, I bet it’s another “nice and interesting article” I read when I don’t manage to write down my three picks until tomorrow..

    Do you have the same problem? How would you approach this?

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