Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why We Should Judge Books By Their Covers

by Will Hunter Friedman

One of the few clear lessons I still remember from my Kindergarten Teacher. Treat others the way you want to be treated, and don’t judge a book by its cover. In this, my second blog post, I am going to explain why you should through that advice out the window.

First things first, I love reading and always have. When I was young, I was fairly conservative reader. I used to listen advice like don’t judge a book by its cover. Now I don’t. When I followed that age-old rule, I would basically read my way through the fiction section of the library in alphabetical order.

It sucked. Sure, I found some really good books, but the majority of them just weren’t interesting to me. Then, I changed. I stopped going in order. I now go to the library, and walk the shelves. I look and see if there are any new books in a series I enjoy. If there are, I check them out. If there aren’t, I browse the shelves. I look at titles, authors, and most importantly, covers.

I think that covers are one of the best ways to tell if you will like a book. I know that they are for me. The artwork produces a response from my subconscious. If I like the cover, I’ll feel drawn to the book, and, more often than not, will really enjoy it. If I’m not drawn to the book, I move on. Now, I know what you are probably thinking. “Wait, won’t your system make you miss good books that you would have otherwise read?” Good question Imaginary Blog Reader! Yes, it will. On the other hand, my system also makes it less likely for me to waste time reading lots of books that I don’t like.

I know that you may disagree with me. There are those among my readers who will no doubt protest that my system is luck, or erratic. That is your right. I disagree. I have great faith in the subconscious. I firmly believe in thin-slicing, a concept that is explained in the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. The theory basically says that your subconscious will repulse you from books you won’t like, and will draw you towards books you will like.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please let me know, as I’d be happy to address them.


  1. I know, right?! people tell you "don't judge a book by it's cover", but that doesn't actually apply to...well, books! I mean, if you want somebody to read the book, make the cover look fun to read! I personally use this policy when doing my blog posts. I see you did that too!

    1. Will Hunter FriedmanDecember 3, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      Thanks for reading, HissyFit! It is nice to know that someone has read this and agrees with it. By the way, I really enjoy your blog!

  2. The only problem I see with this is, as you mentioned, is missing good books, which are hard for me to find these days. So if you are too picky about reading books, you might want to let up a bit. Just saying. :)

  3. Not to be rude or anything, but do YOU actually do it?

  4. Will Hunter FriedmanMarch 16, 2015 at 6:50 AM

    There is definitely a chance of missing good books with my systems. I would recommend having someone whose judgement you trust also look through the books and pick out a stack that they think you will like. Then, you go through them with an open mind. It is not perfect, but it may help cut down on books you are missing.