Curate your Zoom Bookcase: 10 books that should be in there and 10 that shouldn’t

In a previous article, I talked about the importance of getting your Zoom background right. While windblown palm trees and meteor showers were originally amusing backdrops and an effective way to show off your fluency in operating video conferencing technology, let’s think about how we can inject more gravitas into your online habitat. We established that this can be done very effectively by sitting in front of your home library and many people have been in contact with me to ask for help in this area. So, as we head into another weekend of blissful lockdown, why not take some time to curate your Zoom Bookcase Background or ZBB?


Here are ten types of books that are a must on any self-respecting Zoomer’s bookshelf:


  1. ‘Hard Core Classics’ – a dash of Austen, Orwell or Steinbeck, ideally one of their lesser known tomes
  2. ‘Appropriate Autobiographies’ – a critical opportunity to showcase your heroes, as long as it’s Steve Jobs rather than Posh Spice
  3. ‘Self-help Bibles’ – you’re advised to focus on the developmental rather than the desperate 
  4. ‘Serious Contemporary Literature’ – any Booker Prize winner or nominee
  5. ‘Door Stop Reference’ – heavy weight guides to Renaissance Architecture or Porcelain of the Orient or even a full size Oxford Dictionary 
  6. ‘Travel Guides’ – to exotic rather than run-of-the-mill destinations i.e. Bhutan rather than Bognor
  7. ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’ – need I say more! 
  8. ‘Art Books’ – Around the Uffizi in 80 Days?
  9. ‘Foreign Language Books’ – an original Spanish language copy of Don Quixote, for example, is a real trophy for the cabinet but make sure you can pronounce it correctly if challenged
  10. Book Ends – not books but a perfect use for those ‘Sales Support Person of the Year’ awards from the late 90s.


Ten titles you should perhaps remove from your bookcase:


  1. Dummies Guide to Financial Accounting
  2. The Beano Annual 2020
  3. Fifty Shades of Grey
  4. The Bluffers Guide to Management
  5. Any Mr Men books
  6. Around the World with Justin Bieber – True Stories from Beliebers Everywhere
  7. The Survival Guide to Working with Bad Bosses
  8. The Kama Sutra Workout
  9. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
  10. Surrounded by Idiots – how to understand those that cannot be understood


Happy curating!