So you are reading chess books. But are they any good? Reading the text in the book, going through the games on a board and solving the problems presented there are all good practices. But some books are simply better than others. What does better mean?
Different books bring up different topics, that is understandable. Some treat a certain opening system, other treat a certain type of endgame, yet others treat themes like variation calculation techniques and chess psychology. All these topics are important and they all improve your game. But every topic is covered good and bad depending on which book you pick up.
A sign that a book is low in quality is when it is packed with variations virtually without any explanations. A sign that a book is of high quality is when there is a lot of high quality text that explains how to think in the positions and gives good, well thought through advices that actually have been tested and proven to work in practice. Some books like to delve into curious chess stories, and while this is entertaining to read, overdoing this does decrease the chess training value of a book.
So generally speaking, books that are generous in commentary, only bring up key variations and follow them up with wordy evaluations, and are written by merited chess professionals, those are the books that bring new light into your game. At the same time, no matter how good the books are, they will bring you exactly as much results as you put in to take in their contents. After all, chess training is serious business and it requires a lot of discipline and hard work. Having that said, it is an exciting feeling to rise in class, learn from the best and climb the shoulders of giants!
Comment: please list the best 3 chess books that improved your chess! what was so great about them? do you still have them in your bookshelf? thanks a bunch!