Recently I took a call from a friend asking me for a book recommendation – it turns out he had failed to find a good one after walking around the bookstore looking, randomly, for a “good book on sales”.
I remember when I used to gamble on books. I’d check out the new releases, I’d take a peak at a few books on the shelves, and then, well, I’d randomly pick one. What prompted the decision? Who knows. It doesn’t matter because I regularly picked awful books.
After one especially bad book I had had enough. I was tired of reading garbage — consuming books is a finite thing and my attention is increasingly scarce.
So I started to build personal filters. Certain friends, Amazon recommends, select blogs, … I started to only read books that came through a collection of these filters. The result? I haven’t read a bad book since. Seriously.
I’ve now done the same with music and am starting to do it with movies, events, etc. These are smash-ups of ultra low-tech filters with high-tech solutions.
The results are great but I feel like we’re on the cusp of making the entire process more efficient through technology. Leveraging a number of different sources – Amazon, AttentionTrust, Root Vaults, Pandora, … – we’ll soon have incredible personal filters.
While we should get excited about what’s ahead, we should also remember that there are way too many still wandering the book store, searching randomly for that “good book”.
The challenge is to bring the value of personal filters to them in a consumable way. There’s still a long way to go with that.