Do you read books ? I hope you do.
There’s no shortage of resources, quotes and mentions about how the most successful people in the world, whether they are entrepreneurs, leaders or philantropists, read a lot more books per year than the average persons.
Maybe you don’t usually read books, or read a few here and there. But in any case, if you’re not actively and regularly reading, your’re missing out.
There’s Reading On The Internet, And Then There’s Reading Books
The nice thing about internet is that there’s an unlimited supply of knowledge. It’s amazing how you can learn virtually anything in any field, and find countless blog posts, videos, tutorials, guides, how-to, courses, webinars and all of these kinds of resources that will help you discover and get better at whatever skill you can think of.
But if reading blog articles or watching videos to learn things is a good thing to do, reading books takes your learning to another level. Simply put, the knowledge you get from reading books is many times more valuable than what you get from simple blog articles.
I’m not saying blog posts aren’t useful or not worth reading, but if a blog post is a pond of knowledge, a book is the sea. It is years of study, learning and knowledge of one person—the author, and often more since the author conducted research and gathered data from many other people—condensed in a few hundreds pages. They bring you new perspectives and concepts you can learn, take those you think you knew to a whole new level, and bring a lot more on the table than we tend to think.
How To Read More Books
Ok. Maybe I don’t need to convince you about reading books, and you already know it’s something you should do. But do you read them as much as you would like to ?
I know I used to be frustrated with how long it took me to finish a book. In fact, I still am today, but a lot less. How many books per year do you read ?
When I started reading, as in reading to learn new things and improve my skills, not for entertainment, I’d read about one or two books a year. Then I sped up a little bit and got to 4–6. But that was still not enough. I wanted to read and learn more. I needed to step up my reading game. I needed to really make a habit of reading every day. Once I found out how to do that, I managed to get to a rhythm of 2 books per month, or 24 per year. By no means it’s an incredible feat, but it’s still nice and a lot more than the average.
All of this without training myself to speed read. Speed reading is very useful if you want to read more books, and it’s a skill that I recommend working on and plan to train myself, but this wasn’t my priority so I needed to find another way.
So how did I get to reading 24 books per year without speed reading? By chaining habits.
You’ve probably heard of the concept of chaining habits. It’s the best way to implement a new habit. Instead of trying to incorporate a new habit randomly in your routine, add it right after something you do already every day. Like brushing your teeth, dressing up, driving to work.
For me, it is breakfast. Each time I eat my breakfast, I take my tablet and read while eating. I don’t watch TV, and since I wake up quite early, my girlfriend is still sleeping, so this is the perfect moment to do some reading. I’m not a speed reader, but i’d say my reading speed is OK, and since I like taking nice breakfasts, I usually get at least 15 to 20 minutes of reading every morning.
Then, there’s a second time in the day where I read, and it is right before going to sleep. As soon as I finished brushing my teeth and slip into my bed, I’ll grab my Kindle and read. Again, not for a long time, 15 minutes, sometimes 20.
I really like it because it also helps me fall asleep faster. Of course, you shouldn’t do this on a tablet or a phone, as your device’s light will actually wake you up and you’ll have trouble falling asleep. Kindle are easy on the eyes, so these and paperback books just before sleep time are fine.
You Don’t Have To Spend Hours On It. Just Be Consistent
That’s it. 15 to 25 minutes, two times a day, gets me 30–45 minutes of reading every single day. That’s roughly 5 hours of reading per week, which allows me to read at least two books a month, or 24 per year. Not bad, if you ask me. Of course, I’m still far from some famous CEOs that are known to read 40 or even 60 books a year, but as one should with everything, I’m working my way up to that pace, slowly but steadily.
So if you want to increase the number of books you read every year, and you always find yourself short of time because of a busy schedule, give a try at this. You don’t have to block big chunks of time dedicated to reading. Simply chain the habit of reading, even just for 15 minutes, to one habit (or two) that you already have, so you’ll do it everyday and it’ll add up over time. It doesn’t have to be the same times of the day as me, but I find that early morning and at night right before sleep are the quietest times of my day, thus the moments where I find reading the easiest and enjoy it the most.