Sometimes I am a little slow to catch on to the value of a tool. I am just doing this right now, but I have been quite impressed by the way this tool is used by some of my connections. (This is a thinking aloud piece, as I am going through the process right now.)
Your public profile can show the book you are reading now and the book you want to read next. It provides a link to a list of your already finished reading if you create such a list. As with anything that has to do with Linked-In, these should be books that relate to the expertise that you are peddling. You don’t want to list golf books, for example, unless you are in the golf business.
Why have a reading list? You want to show potential clients and/or employers that you are so interested in what you do that you are spending your own time and money to extend that expertise. You are still busy being born, not just coasting on your previous knowledge and experience. If you are in a technical field, this may be the difference between being employable or not in a tight labor market.
If you are really looking hard for a gig, I would take the time to put all of the books that you have read into a reading list. People empathize with other people who have read the same books, and they want to talk about the common experience of reading that book. Books make an personal connection to potential employers and clients. If they are not readers themselves, they are still likely to have some respect for readers.
Put all of the professional books you have read on the list. Don’t fake it because anyone who is interviewing you who has read the same book will ask you about it. That’s what you want so don’t choose books you didn’t read, and don’t choose books you read but didn’t understand. This is supposed to be an ice breaker for a subject in which who hope you have some expertise.
Note that you can watch other people’s reading lists too. I have some friends who always have read the great books in my trade before I have. I am going to start watching their reading lists.
I wouldn’t put too many books on the list. If you are not going to connect with people in your business on your first ten tries, you are probably talking about a person who doesn’t read. There are lots of those peole out there in every profession. They still may be glad that you do, however, but adding more books will not make much difference here. Books that you read recently and vividly impacted you should dominate the list because you want to be able to speak about the ideas in the book with enthusiasm.
Are you helping Linked-In make money when you do this? No doubt. Linked-In should be kicking some of that income back to the members. I think they make a lot more money if they gave half the Amazon income to the member whose reading list was clicked to buy the book. I bet twenty times as many people would almost immediately add and/or expand their reading lists immediately. If Linked-In shares it fifty-fifty with the member, that’s still a tenfold increase in income from the previous results. They could also say almost immediately that they pay you to be part of their network. That could make their growth explode. (Note to Linked-In management: send me a taste of your massively increased profits that you will achieve if you implement this idea.)