My Super Simple Advice on How To Read More
I came across an interesting article on Better Humans by Charles Chu a few days ago. It talks about how he did everything right in his life – good grades, recommendations, a college degree, dream job. But for some reason, things just didn’t feel right and he didn’t know why.
Until he came across a quote by Warren Buffet “Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will…”
Inspired by this quote and in his search for answers, Chu started reading only to see his life transform in front of his eyes. After reading 400 books in the last two years, Chu had some serious reading advice for people in his article. What Chu said is mind-boggling because it puts our lives and our precious time into perspective.
Time it takes to read 200 books a year: 417 hours
Time we spend on social media in a year: 608 hours
Time we spend on TV in a year: 1,642 hours
So, what I understood is that we all clearly have time to read.
If you’re one of those who realize the importance of reading (but still don’t do it), what I think you can do is aim to read – read anything, but read. And (slowly) getting rid of damaging addictions like TV/Netflix, Candy Crush, and purposeless social media is the first step.
Still, 200 books a year is quite a task. It’s definitely possible (and we have Chu to prove that), but is it realistic? I’m not too sure.
Coincidentally, just today I stumbled upon an article from Life Hacker that gives some superb tips on making reading easier. These tips won’t make 200 books a year possible, but they will definitely kick start the process.
Carry your books wherever you go.
It is a pain when I’m in the middle of a 1000-page novel, but I carry it anyway. Sometimes my friends are late, sometimes my food is late. And I like to use that time to read my book rather than my Facebook newsfeed that seems to be filled with wedding updates of all the 20-somethings I know.
Give up books you’re not enjoying.
Purely echoing what the article said, reading should not be a challenge that you need to overcome. It definitely does not mean that if you stop reading a book halfway, you’re a quitter. Give up what you don’t like and move on because you don’t need more excuses to avoid reading.
Set smaller targets and commit to them
Reading is much easier when you’ve set a certain daily target in your head. Whether it’s a chapter or just 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading, setting a small target makes you want to achieve it. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve forced myself to read because I had set a target.
Read 3 books at a time.
I’m reading the most random books at the moment. Dreamlands and Nightscapes by Stephen King (thriller/horror), Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte on audio (classic stuff) and The Art of Social Media (non-fiction/self-help). Reading multiple books is like watching multiple shows. It’s possible, it’s acceptable and it adds variety so chances of getting easily bored are slim.
Fortunately for me, this entire process was a lot more natural. Reading became an interest, then a hobby, and now a passion. If you had asked me 3 years ago what my least favorite activities in the world were, reading would have topped that list. But today reading beckons me like I was born to do it. It enlightens me, it calms me. It introduces me to people that probably exist in the world but not my life and most importantly, it makes me happy!