Would You Starve or Thrive on the 3-Book Diet?

Our ever-inspiring editor in chief at REALTOR® Magazine, Stacey Moncrieff, brought an interesting experiment to my attention earlier this month, and I’d love to get your thoughts on it. I admit, I’m a little conflicted on it myself.

Credit: Michele Ahin, licenced under the Creative Commons cc-by-sa 2.0 (generic) licence.

Chris Brogan, bestselling author and CEO/president of Human Business Works, has a proposition: Read three books—and only three—over one year. The point of the exercise is to move from quantity to quality, spending more time absorbing and implementing the lessons books have to teach us and less time collecting books in our “read” pile.

Here are his rules and suggestions:

  • Choose 3 books to read from November 1, 2012 until November 1, 2013.
  • They can be new to you or old favorites. Any genre. Any kind.
  • Read these books for an entire year. Over and over. At least twice.
  • Implement what you can.
  • Pick books that represent different facets of your life (Brogan is choosing one for each of these three categories: body, spirit, and business).
  • You have until November 1 to choose, but after you start, you have only one week to change your mind on only one title, so after that, you’re locked in.
  • Students have permission to read outside of the 3 books, but only for school.

You have to admit, it’s an intriguing dare. But I don’t know if I could commit. I don’t particularly like rereading books, and people are constantly recommending or even giving books to me (yes, I’m a lucky lady!). Could I really push them off until next year with the excuse that I’m on a diet?

Because of my work on this very blog, I couldn’t participate unless Brogan gave me the student exemption. I don’t think Weekly Book Scan readers would appreciate hearing about the same three books 52 times over the next year.

Still, I did recently purchase three large books I’ve been meaning to read, but put off because I hadn’t yet made the time. Maybe these three books could hold me through to November 2013, if I could just pretend I was stranded on a desert island with no nearby library.

How about you? Would you consider trying Brogan’s challenge? If you could only read three books for the next year, what would they be and why?

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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  1. Like Meg, I would be hard-pressed to choose three books to study over a full year. But three books that I have gone back to time and time again — books that have helped me in both my personal and my professional relationships — are The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix, and — corny as it may sounds– the Bible. No, I’m not particularly religious. I subscribe to an e-mail, “10 minutes of Torah,” and the stories rarely fail to offer timely insights!

  2. Brian Summerfield

    Good choices, Stacey. Like you, I would have a tough time with this, since I go through about a book a week and generally don’t re-read anything. I’d need something that seemed fresh and interesting every time I read it. I would probably go with “Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War,” by Robert Coram, “The Lost Books of the Odyssey,” by Zachary Mason, and “Drood,” by Dan Simmons. I actually reviewed those last two books for fun a while back, and recommend them highly:



  3. Interesting proposition. My three: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Foundational book for self improvement in 20th Century. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. Great book about a philosophy of life and how we are in control of our choices. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Love this book, makes me a better Parent when I read it.

    Thank You

  4. I would consider this challenge , three books in one year is readable. The books would have to be probably a new angle besides real estate.

  5. laurie barrera

    Considering I have not been inspired enough to even read the books my Book Club chooses, I say YES! I could definitely do that if the topic was about business and motivation:

    Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner
    The Seven Spiritual Laws of Sucess by Deepak Chopra
    And, a book I have been meaning to read:
    The Go-Giver by Burg & Mann

    I just may take the challenge!

  6. Hey, Laurie: If you do decide to take on the challenge, let me know how it goes!

  7. Pamela Weiner

    I could not possibly pick just 3 books, there are too many choices out there and yes I do reread books so that is not the issue. The other problem I would have is, I read 3 books a week. I don’t want to limit myself for a whole year, it is way too long a time to go without more than 3 books. I still find time to check back in with my favorite books or go reread passages that pertain to something I am going through in my life. Good Luck if you try to do it, it is just not for me.