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Late last year, I saw an article in the Atlantic that talked about the Decline of the American Book Lover.

The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn't cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car

At the time, I noted the article for two reasons:

  1. I was on my 206th book for the year
  2. If you talk to anyone who is serious about keeping up (their technical skills, their professional acumen, their career prospects), you inevitably get book recommendations

At the start of every year, I always see a deluge of posts about the Best Books Last Year—the Best Business Books, the Top Must Reads, Books Every [Entrepreneur, CFO, CTO, CEO, you name it] Should Read—from Forbes, Inc.com, Fast Company, Financial Times, strategy+business, AIIM, etc.

Every month at least one Conclave member always brings up a book. Not everyone does, and not everyone reads the same books for the same purpose. But everyone agrees that reading is one of the key ways to keep up.

Most of those Year-End roundup articles are top 10 lists (We humans love our Top 10 lists): 10 books you should read in the next year. If you read all of those and one more then you're in good company at the top:

In 1978, Gallup found that 42 percent of adults had read 11 books or more in the past year (13 percent said they'd read more than 50!).  Today, Pew finds that just 28 percent hit the 11 mark.

If you want the whole story, I recommend reading the full article in The Atlantic and following the reference links they provide to the other studies. It'll make for an interesting afternoon's reading.

P.S. I'm still in the process of writing my Best Books roundup article. I finished 2016 having read more than 200 books, so it's taking me a while to write up. In the meantime, join me in the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge. I intend to add at least 12 non-fiction books to my reading list this year; the rest are for the pure pleasure of reading.


My writeup on the best books I read in 2016 is finally done. The final total was 237.

Key Concepts:

best practices, soft-skills

Filed under:

Blog, Liz Asks