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Optimize and Socalize your Reading List with Goodreads

It sort of goes without saying that if you want to know more, you have to learn more.  And despite the influx of blogs, podcasts, videos, e-newsletters, etc. as sources of great knowledge in any and all topics, nothing beats the good old-fashioned book.

Format of books aside (paper or digital is entirely up to you), books provide a complete look at a topic as an author intended - something that short blogs and random articles can't do.  If you're learning a personal development system, for example, you'll generally get an entire system to work with.  If you're learning an exercise program, you'll get the whole program at once and always have it at your fingertips.  The value and benefit of books can't really be overstated.  


The love of books generally translates into the creation of reading lists.  And reading lists can take a number of forms - from a group of books physically sitting on a shelf to detailed topic-driven lists of books in digital format, and everything in between.  I've tried all sorts of ways to keep track of my books, but apart from a pile of books next to my nightstand, I've not been successful until discovering a new tool.  

The tool I'm going to share today is a website named Goodreads.  Goodreads is a social media site with the main topic of books - what you're reading, what you have read and reviewed, what you're going to read, and the ability to share your recommendations, reviews, etc. with your friends.  It connects to Facebook and Twitter, naturally, so that your posts on Goodreads can be shared out to your social media friends (another great way to create valuable content for your followers!).  

It also has four built-in reading lists (Goodreads refers to them as "bookshelves") that I've found invaluable.  These lists are "To-Read," "Currently Reading," "Read," and of course "All."  (And if you own a Kindle Fire, like I do, you can connect their Goodreads app right to your Kindle and your Amazon account so that your purchases are put into your "To-Read" list.)   You can also create your own lists.  For instance, I've created a couple of lists for books on business and personal evolution, Steampunk books (for my fictional perusing), spirtuality and meditation, health and nutrition, and more.  A list can be set to exclusive (so that a book in a list can ONLY be in that list) or not, featured (so that it shows up on your Goodreads profile page), and more.  

Purchases and library look-ups are a click away.
And naturally, Goodreads allows you to look up books on their website.  This is a truly awesome feature - because not only do you see reviews from your friends, other Goodreads users, synopses of the books, and all the critical info like ISDN and such, you can also purchase the book right from the site using the links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible, Powells,, etc.  And, if you're being thrifty, you can even look at libraries near you that have the book.  Pretty cool.  

So here's the really neat part.  Suppose you're on the bus to work, listening to a podcast, and the podcast mentions a book that you should read.  You could write it down really quickly, or type it into your Evernote, or what have you.  Or, you could open up your Goodreads app on your phone, Kindle, iPad, what have you, and quickly look up the book and add it to a reading list or two.  And you're done.  List updated, links to purchase or reserve at the library are taken care of, and you're back to paying attention to that podcast.  

Some other neat features include apps for pretty much every major device (including a special Goodreads app for Kindle Fire which synchs your purchases and reading with your reading lists - if you finish a book on your Kindle, Goodreads moves it to the "read" list, for example); the ability to instantly share great quotes, recommendations, notes you take, reviews, etc.; to multiple social media platforms and/or email; getting notifications that authors you like have new blog posts; and much, much more.  

Like any social media site, it's easy to get lost in Goodreads, especially if you're a bibliophile.  But used as an awesome tool for organization and optimization, Goodreads is a fantastic way to manage your reading and never lose the name of a book again.  

Have you used Goodreads, or another method of organizing your books?  Let us know!  


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