One of my roles as a book reviewer is to score books.
When I started this blog I thought long and hard about what qualities make up a great book and what criteria I was going to score my future reads on.
This is what I ended up with.
My book scoring system
I score all the books I review using three sets of criteria:
- Design and layout
- Quality of information
I score each of those qualities out of 10.
Those scores are then added together and divided by 3 to produce and overall average book score out of 10.
A book that scores top marks will make it into my 10/10 book category! …Like an Amazon Bestsellers list, only better 😉
What makes a 10/10 books?
Obviously, for a book to be awarded 10/10 it has to have a great design and layout, be easy and enjoyable to read, and provide you with high-quality information in return for your time.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
However, when you actually start applying this criteria to a whole range of books and topics, there’s a lot more to take into consideration.
So, here are 6 things that make a 10/10 book.
1 – It must deliver the goods!
This is the most important point about any book. It must deliver the goods!
In other words, the book must give you exactly what the title leads you to think the book offers.
Now, although that sounds pretty obvious, you’d be amazed at just how many book titles are misleading.
Sometimes, it’s almost as if the author has plucked a catchy title out of the air even though it has nothing to do with the content of the book.
One book that’s guilty of this is “Six Months to Six Figures” by Peter Voogd. You would think that this book is going to teach you how to make six figures in six months. It doesn’t do that! The book is actually about personal development. It does not contain any meaningful steps on how someone starting at zero can acquire $100,000+ in such a short time frame.
The mind boggles!
2 – Easy to read and understand
The book must be written in such a way that it’s easy to read and understand and gets straight to the point.
If the book is overly complex or is written in language that’s difficult to understand, the message is lost, and the reader may give up and simply put the book down.
One book that illustrates that point is “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. For me, this book is an overly complex read, and I didn’t manage to get past the first ten or 15 pages. Although I understood each word and sentence on their own, at the end of a page I had no clue what the author was trying to teach me!
So that book is now in my DNF pile, and I have no plans to try to read it again soon. (If you did manage to finish the book, tell me what you thought of it in the comments box below.)
3 – Entertaining to read
If the book is dry, boring, or monotonous, it won’t keep your interest, and you may end up not finishing it.
Therefore, all my highly-rated books have been entertaining to read in one way or another. Some contain humor, whereas others may share the author’s personal experiences or some form of illustrative stories.
A good example of a book that fails on this point is “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. This is a very valuable book that contains lots of great content, but it’s very dry and boring in places, which makes the book difficult to read and pick up. So, for that reason, I scored the book down.
4 – Actionable content
Without some sort of game plan or strategy, it’s very difficult to use the valuable lessons that books contain.
Therefore, 10/10 books must contain actionable content. They must have a step-by-step guide showing you how to do what the author is teaching you.
This the main problem I have with Malcolm Gladwell’s books. I do like his books, and they’re very well written and full of interesting concepts, but there’s no actionable content that you can use.
5 – Content must be easy to implement
Following on from the previous point, not only does the book have to contain actionable content, it must also be easy to implement.
If something is too difficult or asks too much of the reader, they probably won’t implement it, which renders the book useless.
My favorite books all contain valuable, actionable content with a clear strategy that’s easy to implement and which delivers big results.
A good example of that is “The One Thing.” The basic premise of the book is that you find just one important thing every day and execute that. That’s a very simple instruction that anyone can follow and implement.
Another example is “The Compound Effect.” The whole book revolves around doing small tasks every day which over time compound to give you huge results.
6 – The right book at the right time
This point is a little less obvious.
In order to love a book enough to give it 10/10, it has to be the right book at the right time.
The first time you read about a new concept, the experience can be life-changing – especially if it’s exactly the information you needed for the position that you are in.
However, the more non-fiction business and personal development books you read, the more you will realize that a lot of the information out there is the same.
For that reason, you may decide some books aren’t very good, purely because you’ve already read so many similar ones.
So, to summarize this point, a 10/10 book needs to deliver something you need which you’ve not already read before.
As you can imagine, this is difficult for me. Because I read so many books it can be hard to come across something new. Therefore, I always stress that my reviews are my own personal opinion. You may get lots of value from books that I don’t like, especially if you happen to pick up the book at the time you need it most.
What do you think?
So, there you have 6 points that I take into consideration when deciding if I should award a book top marks.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below and let me know which ones you agree/disagree with. Also, if you have any other points that you think should be added, please let me know.
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