Specific vs General Tools

I’ve long prided myself in being a Swiss Army Knife, a utility infielder, a jack-of-all trades. I’m nimble, pliable, and one of my greatest strengths is my adaptability. I can fit into nearly any group and any situation as warranted.

My Swiss Army Knife

I’ve spoken a lot about Notion. It is my everything tool. It’s where I keep my notes for work, for my side hustle, and for my life. I built a little CRM to keep track of the people I need to, because I’m awful with names. I have a database of projects and a database of the related tasks, and those are related to people in the CRM. It’s where I keep a database of books I’ve read (or listened to). And this is where that system fell apart.

There are three books in my holds list I’m patiently waiting on. I have a list of books tagged as “want.” None of those felt interesting. I wanted a recommendation for my next read. Even better if it could look at what I’ve read, what I’ve rated those books, what I think I’d like to read, and more. Notion wasn’t going to be able to give that to me. It doesn’t have the knowledge of the entire world. It barely has the knowledge of my entire brain, although I’m trying to make it my second brain.

A book scalpel

Enter Goodreads. Odd a tool would be built for the giant audience of book readers looking to catalog the books they’ve read as well as provide recommendations for what they should read next </sarcasm>.

I have some problems with how the service works. It defaults to looking at the books I said I want to read to give me recommendations for what to read next. I’d rather it default to looking at what I’ve read, what I’ve been reading, and make recommendations. I’d also like some kind of “brightness” or “darkness” level to books, so I can choose whether I want an upper or a downer of a book. I got out of classic fiction for a hot second because I was subjected to downer after downer.

Maybe these are features of Goodreads hidden below some layers of UX. If I can make those changes the service will be perfect. If not, it at least fills the whole and the niche of what I need it to. It does leave me needing to update my book database in two services, Notion and Goodreads though.

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