Playing the Hot Hand

Three books

Book recommendations have been flowing lately given our collective rush to educate ourselves on systemic racism in America, a frenzied attempt to make up for the failures of our educational systems and previous lack of personal accountability.

While this is well-intentioned, it may be particularly challenging when a practice of reading doesn’t already exist within the reader.

My friend Kenneth told me about his strategy, which he calls “Playing the Hot Hand”. The idea is simple:

Read three books at a time.


This might sound obscene, especially if you aren’t accustomed to reading regularly. But by keeping multiple books in rotation and reading the most engaging book at any given moment, you decouple the habit of reading from book selection. I think this is crucial if you want to develop a sustainable habit of reading.

It’s easy to feel guilt or stagnation if you’ve lost some momentum or interest in a book. But by “playing the hot hand”, you can make slower progress on books you still have the intention to read, while increasing the likelihood that you’re reading something that fully captures your mind and attention.

I have a hunch this idea could benefit the development of any sustainable practice. Thanks Kenneth.


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