Last year I read 30 books. The year before that I read zero.
My way of continuing my education is to read more books. At first, I tried to brute force my way through reading. But, I quickly found myself getting distracted or wondering. I finally experimented with ways, and read a particular book, to setup up a system where I can win by default. Reading has now become a habit in my life. I never plan on stopping.
These are the things that I found most helpful when setting a goal to read more.
- Read what you love.
- Find a reading list you love.
- Set a small daily reading goal, then slowly increase the amount over time.
- Read in a distraction free environment. Earplugs are awesome!
- Save $$$ Go used. AbeBooks.com
- Increase your reading speed with 10 Days To Faster Reading
1. Read What You Love
Start with what you love, then work from there. Reading doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth. If you want to read more, read what you enjoy and find most interesting. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction. Find a category of books that align with what you enjoy most in life.
Ways to find books about what you love:
- Ask yourself what do you talk most about?
- Perhaps the only thing you love more than gardening is talking about gardening. The next time you’re at Home Depot, ask someone at the gardening section what books they would recommend to a green thumb like yourself.
- Fiction or Non-fiction?
- As a young boy, I lived in the world of Tolkien and Rowling. Casting spells and adventuring with Hobbits. Fiction was my thing when I was younger. Nowadays I’m super into business books. In fact, all 30 of the books I read last year had to do with some area related to business.
Pick up a fiction book if you want to get lost in another world, or a non-fiction if find the life of Abraham Lincoln compelling. No matter the category, start with what you love.
2. Find a List You Love
Once you find what you love to read, look at the top sellers in that category. Pick the top 5 and that is your new reading list. Reading lists are a fantastic source to reference to see what to read next and what other books are out there in your category. A reading list also gives you a mental bookshelf. Once you finish your first book you can scan your bookshelf and pick another.
There are tons of reading lists on the internet. Here are a few of my favorite:
- 2017 Summer Reads by Bill Gates
- Top Well-Read Readings
- The Personal MBA Continued Reading List (my current reading list)
3. A Habitual System of Baby Steps
Reading more is more about habits than goals.
To read 30 books in one year, I had to make reading a high priority in my life plain and simple. Here’s the thing though, I did not tell myself, “My goal is to read 30 books in one year.” Instead, I asked myself, “What must I do each day so that I can read more?” Asking your goal in the form of a question leaves answers to be had.
I quickly began jotting down ways to answer my question. I can wake up 15 minutes earlier to read. I can create a reading space in my home. I can set an email reminder. I can carry a book with me in the car. There were no wrong answers to my question. What I focused most on was how I can move towards my reading goal each day.
I chose to start small and set a habit of reading 20 minutes 3 times a week. Then after a month, I scaled up to 4 times a week, then 5. The point is to start with a small habit that you can win at immediately. Once you have a simple habit established, begin to scale it up little by little.
4. Positive Reading Environment
I found that where you read is extremely important. I wanted to make sure I stayed on the task at hand, so I setup an environment to eliminate distractions. I picked my home office with the computer turned off. Phone on silent, face down. I had good lighting and read early in the morning. What area in your house can you convert into a reading nook? Make it comfy and unique to your needs. If you want to really drown out the noise I recommend getting some comfortable earplugs.
Your reading area should be free of distractions and allow you to focus on the task at hand; reading.
5. Go Used
I got 90% of my books online and used. I get all my books from AbeBooks.com. I normally filter by used, lowest price, and free shipping. The free shipping does take longer than usual but the price makes up for it. I have never received a book in bad condition. Must of the used books feel brand new. If you don’t want to break the bank and don’t mind waiting, AbeBooks.com is a great site to get your next book.
6. Need for Speed
The last tip I have that helped me read more was reading 10 Days to Faster Reading, by Abby Marks-Beale. This book teaches my favorite technique of reading quickly; previewing. Previewing is the number one way to get your brain prepared for reading. There are more tips in the book. Get a copy, read it slowly, then you’ll never read another book the same again.
Call To Action
Brian Tracy, the author of The Psychology of Selling, says that one of the keys to success is to commit to a life of learning. Reading, studying, audio books, seminars. Never stop learning. Never stop reading.
Take 3 minutes to answer these questions:
- What do you talk most about?
- What book category would that fall under?
- Purchase one book from that category and read it at least 10 minutes a day.
- In the comments below type what book you’re reading or plan to read.