Reading one book a week has countless blessings. Just think about it: it totals over 50 books every year. It’s really a lot, and such amount of information and wisdom can make a big impact in your life.
It has been said, for example, that if one would specialize and read one book a week about a certain topic for five years, that person could thus become an international expert in that field. That’s huge, isn’t it?
It’s all for the best – and it doesn’t even require that much effort from you. It’s never too hard to find the time to read at least one book a week. I’ve embraced this habit late last year and fully put it into practice ever since. While I didn’t read 20+ books yet, I’ve read considerably more than I did before.
The aim of this post is to show you how you can build this habit yourself. Following are my top five picks and strategies about how I achieved this myself.
1- Try Audiobooks. Audiobooks are a real blessing – the perfect solution for all those who don’t have the time to sit down and read. They have been extremely effective to me – their versatility is, my friends, unmatched. You can hear audiobooks everywhere: walking down the street, on public transportation, in the gym… I’ve charged my Ipod with dozens of these audiobooks – a total winner.
It’s true – audiobooks are not the same as good old paper books. But they still work wonders – especially if you are, just like me, a bit of a freak and carry a notebook everywhere. I note the highlights, what interested me most and the ‘time’ of the parts I would most likely would like to hear back again.
2- Carry a Book Everywhere. While the audiobooks are unbeatable when it comes to versatility, carrying a book everywhere you go comes close second. You can’t read on the gym (or at least I can’t!), but you can on any waiting line, public transportation and even while walking. Sometimes it takes a bit of effort to get used to it, but you can make it happen.
While big, heavy books are a con, there are thousands of worthy small books you can carry around. If you make a habit of reading when you have the window, soon enough the pile of completed books will start to grow. If you have a Kindle, Ipad or another similar device, you just don’t have excuse – take it everywhere!
3- Stock Books You’ll be Interested About. Books are cheap – just buy many of them. Many people have called me weird, as I buy more books than I’ll be able to read. But that pays off – I always have at least two or three books to take up and read.
As I buy different kinds of books, I always have one that will suit me for that exact time. For when I’m bored of finance, I have some good piece about traveling. If you stock books, you’ll always have something appealing waiting for you.
Did you ever hear about Umberto Eco’s antilibrary? On his bestseller The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb points the following:
“Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”
Taleb is right, and I believe everyone should start building their antilibrary. In a way, want it or not, it makes you start reading more, plus its value as an important research tool.
4- Be Open About Your Goal. Some of you might have found it, some might not – but here it is: Mario’s list of all the books I’ve been reading so far in 2010. I started this list only a few weeks ago following the inspiring one Everett has written for himself. It just helps out to know that I’ll disappoint friends, readers and even myself if I don’t add one new book to that list every week. It’s bad enough already as most of what I’ve been reading (or listening!) is usually longer than the average!
Why don’t write yours? You don’t need a paid website to do it after all. You could sign for a Posterous or Tumblr blog, for instance. Otherwise, there are countless widgets here and there for your favorite social networks that will let you keep track of what you read.
5- Learn to Read Faster. This alone has the power to make your goal achievable. Perhaps you do have the time to read, but just not enough, right? Learning to read two, three or even four times faster than you do now will then certainly help you. Heck, it will help everyone.
I’m still slow for super-human standards, but I’m slowly getting better. Tim and Scott have both written great guides with two different (and complimentary) approaches about how you can speed up your reading.
Tidbit: there’s this video about a university student asking Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (the two richest Americans – smart guys, both) the following question: “If you could choose one super power, what would you choose?” While I expected him to answer “flying”, “making Bing interesting to the people”, etc, Gates answered something like this “I wish I could read much, much faster than I do now.”
If from all people he says that, guys, imagine it is big stuff.