In an attempt to make my rating of books more systematic, here’s how I’ve been using, and intend to further use, the five-star system.
***** A book that makes deep and lasting contributions to fundamental questions which are relevant to me. This book will henceforth be inseparable from my thinking, and I will return to it often. Alternatively, a book which, if I had never read another book before, would get me to start writing.
**** A strong book that has been significantly beneficial for me to read. I will return to it once in a while and continue to be influenced by it.
*** A so-so book. Nothing particularly outstanding, but no fundamental shortcomings either. I am likely not going to return to this book in my thinking and might forget about it before too long.
** A book that made no positive contributions to my thinking and has fundamental shortcomings, but I finished it nonetheless.
* A book that was so unbearable to read that I did not finish it.
These are personal criteria and that’s intentional. If I stumbled upon an objectively outstanding book that happened to be irrelevant to me, I would give it a low rating. Usually that doesn’t happen though, as my decision which books to read will likely filter out those books in the first place.