What Your Book Collection Says About You

Have you ever taken note of a person’s bookshelf the first time you were at their place? If so, chances are you learned a thing or two about them in those moments of eyeing their book collection. A book collection (or lack thereof) can reveal a lot about someone’s interests, passions, desire to learn and grow. Our bookshelf reveals everything from our major in university and desire for career growth, to our hobbies (both past and present), places we’ve travelled and who we admire personally and professionally. A glance at someone’s book collection can arguably tell more than a first date.

Holding on to those old textbooks shows your desire to retain and pursue knowledge and wisdom…or that you want to get the most out of those hefty tuition fees that you’re still paying back. Of course, many of us have embarked on career paths that deviate substantially from our undergrad major, but keeping those texts on history, politics, economics and even statistics (yikes!) shows an appreciation for intellect and knowledge. Especially when everything is turning digital, textbooks may be something you’ll want to pass on to your children one day…then again, maybe not. 

Fiction books reveal that the owner is able to disconnect, tune out work and the world and enjoy time to him or herself, getting lost in the world depicted within the pages. It seems most fiction reading is done on holiday in our hectic YP lives, so this could reveal a frequent traveller, or perhaps someone who collects literature with the hope of one day having time to read it. You can also tell a lot about a person from the type of fiction they read, something that may come in handy when it comes to suggesting movies to rent or see in the theatre (so if you’d like to impress down the road, make a mental note). Don’t judge someone’s intellect by his or her fiction of choice. Remember that fiction is an escape, so it doesn’t have to be too intellectual and can in fact be shamelessly indulgent (i.e. don’t get nervous by her collection of Shopaholic books she refuses to part with).

Business Books:
An assortment of business books shows a desire to continue learning and an appreciation of the wisdom and experiences of others. They reveal a go-getter mentality and that he or she is capable of (or at least interested in) growing and developing him or herself. They may strive for the highest degree of success, and turn to the wisdom of seasoned business figures for tricks of the trade and keys to prosperity not taught in a textbook. Furthermore, they also reveal that he or she isn’t a know-it-all or cocky enough to assume that he or she knows everything there is to know about business at their age and stage in their careers.

Health and Wellness:
It’s one thing to hit the gym on the way home from work most nights of the week and another to invest the hours that it takes to read a book on physical health and wellness at the same time. That shows an interest in self-improvement (as opposed to self-destruction) and a desire to want to look and feel one’s best. If the books appear new, this could be a sign that they are recently single, as it is no shock that the best way to heal from a break up is to focus on oneself, hitting the gym, clothing stores and hair salon in attempt to know you still “have it” as you re-enter the dating scene.

A bookshelf peppered with self-help or self-discovery books is a sign that the owner is willing to address any faults or weaknesses and become a better person. It is a sign that he or she believes that emotional or spiritual growth is as important as physical appearance and business goals. If there are too many books, however, (meaning that every other book on the shelf is a self-help book), this could be the (warning) sign of emotional instability and a larger problem altogether.

Travel Books
Aside from the obvious (i.e. the places one has travelled), travel books reveal a sense of learning, discovery and desire to educate oneself on travel destinations ahead of time, instead of taking the free spirit approach, booking a trip on a whim and figuring it out once you get there. With that said, this person is likely a planner and very on top of many aspects in their life.

Coffee Table Books:
Coffee table books are meant for the enjoyment and entertainment of houseguests.  Thus, the presence of many coffee table books may reveal a love of entertaining, with a diverse selection of coffee table books likely meant to cater to a diverse group of friends and company.

There you have it. Next time, take a good look at book collection of the potential love interest or friend you’d like to learn more about. Doing so may just answer some questions you have about him or her, while inspiring new questions and conversation topics at the same time.