What are you reading? Use LinkedIn’s Reading List application

Note: LinkedIn’s Reading List no longer exists, much to the chagrin of me and other.

In Meg Guiseppi’s comprehensive blog entry, 29 Biggest LinkedIn Mistakes (expanded from 20), she alludes to the importance of utilizing Applications. She specifically mentions Box.net Files (#3) and later on talks about using the others (#28) but doesn’t elaborate on which of the others to use. Granted Box.net Files is a great way to post your document files and further brand yourself, I must confess I’m particularly fond of one application that others seem to overlook…Reading List by Amazon.

Currently there are 20 applications that you can use from your LinkedIn Profile or Home Page. Some you might be familiar with are WordPress, Google Presentations, Events, Box.net Files, Polls, to name a few. So why am I enamored with Reading List? There are three major reasons that come to mind.

It aids you in your networking. You can tell a lot about a person based on his/her choice of books. Someone who reads any book by Malcolm Gladwell—The Tipping Point, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, Blink—will immediately get my attention and prompt me to invite him/her to be part of my network. As well, anyone who has a penchant for Martin Yate, gets my nod. On the other hand, if the Twilight series is someone’s choice of good literature, I will pass on this person. (I must confess my hypocrisy; I’ve read all of the Twilight saga. But I wouldn’t include them on my list.)

Your reading list can reveal your expertise. I once asked the LinkedIn community what types of books they include on their Reading List. The majority said job-related books are what populate their list, with perhaps some pleasure reading thrown into the mix. This seems to make good sense. Books on management, finance, the job search, or marketing and sales, should dominate a person’s reading list based on their occupation. Some of the books that dominate my reading list are from some of the best known authors in the career development industry. I’ve learned a lot from them and have forged some relationships through networking.

Your Reading List can help in your personal branding. Meg is an expert on branding, so I wonder if she agrees with this assertion. If you consistently read books on a particular topic, one could assume that you are honing your knowledge to become a reckoning force in your industry. Someone who reads countless number of books on gardening or photography, for example, shows an obvious love for these subjects and, most likely, has read enough to become an expert. This leads back to keeping your Reading List professional, as well as writing comprehensive recommendations that demonstrate your understanding of your occupation and industry.

Reading List by Amazon is LinkedIn’s effort to bring people with similar interests together. Call it a virtual reading club. You may not see the value I obviously see in the Reading List application, but at least take note of what others are reading and see if their choice in literature jives with yours, gives you an understanding of their knowledge, and makes you see some potential for branding. If you engage in this application, tell people about it…open a window to your personality.

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16 thoughts on “What are you reading? Use LinkedIn’s Reading List application

  1. Meg Guiseppi

    Bob, I think I need to amend my blog post to add a 30th biggest LinkedIn mistake — not using Reading List.

    Certainly, a book list with titles relevant to one’s subject matter expertise will reinforce one’s personal brand.

    Thanks for giving me a nudge in the right direction with your post!

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  2. Things Career Related Post author

    And thanks for your affirmation. I think in branding ourselves we need to consider all our actions. I would have more trust in a person who reads job- and industry-related books than someone who reads Harlequin Romances.

    BTW: to anyone who’s following, read Meg’s article on 29 Biggest LinkedIn Mistakes…soon to be 30. 😉

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  3. Ty Ford

    Hey LinkedIn, you screwed up by taking away the reading list. I spent 10 minutes trying to find it for a client today. Now I found out you “decided” to omit it. That’s a bone head move. Put it back!

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  4. Dan McGrath

    Linked In removed the Reading List application without any notification!? Yeah, I know it was a free app, but I liked that app a lot and built up a list of 140 books in my Reading List over the past few years. What people are reading DOES say a lot about them. Why did Linked In do this? Any chance they can put it back? All that content is gone from my profile but I’m glad I saved my list via cut and paste to a text file.

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  5. Tina Thorup

    wtf – why did they remove the reading list?? surely that’s a great way to show what person you are and for employers to get insight into applicants.

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  6. Jeff Wells

    This is a problem with free services like Linkedin. Completely miffed due to all the books I had entered. Now, how can I find professionals who also enjoy Douglas Adams and Peter Drucker?

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      1. Daniel McGrath

        There is a group out there in cyberspace called Good Reads (www.goodreads.com) which is a lot like Linked In’s reading list. I’m a member, but I had been posting the books I’d read over the last few years (along with lengthy commentary) on Linked In. Then POOF! 140 books and commentaries gone from Linked In without even a head’s up from them, so I was highly miffed, too. I think they may have removed it because all the data takes up storage space which isn’t free, but still, they could have at least warned Linked In members ahead of time.

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      2. Things Career Related Post author

        Daniel.

        I only had 48 books listed and thought I was doing well. They were mainly professional in nature, including Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink, all great authors. You must have been more than miffed.

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  7. Daniel McGrath

    Well, I’ll tell you, I was also miffed because as a corporate recruiter, Linked In is a tremendous resource and the Reading List gave me insight into the minds of potential candidates. A reading list is not something that appears on a resume and it’s not the kind of question a recruiter asks. It’s still puzzling why Linked In axed this app 1) without warning and 2) without explanation.

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