I’ve read over 60 books in 2018.
Here are a few thoughts on how to make your reading more efficient and enjoyable at the same time.
Read What Makes You Better
Simply reading more won’t make you better. Prefer quality to quantity, because your time is limited and there are more books published every year than you can read in your life. Read books that interest you to stay motivated and help you solve a problem so you don’t have to go through trial and error yourself. Read books that make you better, smarter, and healthier so you can live a better life.
Read the right books.
Skim Before Buying
Now, here’s a question: “How do you find the right book?” A good place to start is your idols, influencers, and curators you trust. What do they read? What do they recommend? Who reads similar books and what do they recommend? Make a list (I highly recommend goodreads.com for that) with books you want to read. Make a selection.
Once you’ve selected books, skim them. Test them. Read the index and understand it. Do the same with the introduction and conclusion, read a sample. If you still want to read the book: buy it. That way you’ll avoid many poor purchases, save time, and thus have more time and money to buy books that matter to you.
Try before you buy.
Immerse Yourself in a Book
Reading while you are distracted will reduce your understanding and engagement while reading. In contrast, reading attentively is powerful; it allows you to make new connections and remember more of what you’ve read. That’s why you should avoid distractions and interruptions; mute your phone, make sure no one will interrupt you, grab your favorite drink, and sit down to read. Then, immerse yourself in a book and focus on what you read. This way, you’ll make reading more worthwhile.
Set the mood.
Establish A Reading Routine
After you picked the right book and set the mood, it’s time to make reading a habit. It’s the easiest way to read more. Reading is part of my morning and evening routines, and I recommend making it part of yours as well. If you don’t have a routine, I recommend establishing one. It will make you look forward to reading and makes sure you’ll read consistently. It also acts as a natural boundary for other people to not disrupt your reading time.
Make reading part of your life.
Learn From It
Some books take weeks or months to read. How can you still remember what you’ve read? First, highlight while reading and keep it short and rough: if it’s interesting or you’ve gained some insight from it, highlight it. Stop and think when you encounter important information that enlightens you. Reflect after each long chapter. Engage in dialogue with the author, think about what you read, ask questions, and see if they’re answered. Do that while reading the book, and – with small exceptions – keep your reading flow smooth.
After you’re done reading, compile your notes and highlights in a document, that’s your foundation so you don’t have to read this book again (unless it’s so good that you want to). Now it’s time to learn more from it: summarize in your own words what you find most important. Select again and again until you feel like you have extracted the most important ideas for your life. Now, rank those ideas in order of importance. Finally, practice those ideas and insights in your day-to-day life. Pick one and remind yourself to practice it on a daily basis.
Become what you’ve read.
Quit, Reread, Tackle Difficulties
Here are a few additional tips:
If a book seems to be a waste of time: Stop reading it. If a book intensely resonated with you: mark it for rereading. If you feel intimidated by books about complex problems or difficult language: Use them as a challenge to grow.
Aaand that’s it. I’ll cover some of these topics in detail in future blog posts but wanted to get this information out there, so you start to improve your reading today.