13 Tricks That Will Help You Read More Books
Knowledge is power.
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I'm the guy at the barbershop, the dentist's office and the strip club with my nose in a book (OK, not the strip club, that was just to get your attention). I read all of the time, and I love it.
Reading invigorates me, sharpens my mind and makes my soul dance. I love when a book takes me to the furthest nook of my brain and expands my knowledge. I live in a state of constant evolution of mind, body and soul, where learning acts as one of the key pillars. Reading is a primary vehicle to growing that knowledge.
Did you ever ask someone if they read, and they give you that lame excuse that they don't have time? That really tears my pages. Mind you, this is that same person that told you he or she watched the entire season of Game of Thrones in three days. Reading is a sport that takes practice and dedication.
Related: Hey, Book Lovers: Now You Can Smell the Part
From 2011 to 2013, I read 197 books and became obsessed. I witnessed massive personal growth, development and knowledge gains. Here are some tricks I use to read more:
1. Carry your book(s) everywhere.
There's always an opportunity to read. Maybe at the DMV or before a business meeting. Whenever you have a moment, you can break out your book and read. Especially if you like to read digital versions. I still prefer hard copy.
2. Keep a list.
There's a sense of fulfillment and motivation tracking the books you've read. You'll always be able to reference the list or provide recommendations, and will be inspired by the compounding effect reading has. Soon after you begin, you'll already have a handful of books completed, and it will be motivating to see that list grow. I use Good Reads to track everything.
3. Read multiple books.
This strategy works well for me. I like to have different books in different areas of my living quarters. Also, reading multiple books at once helps keep my mind and thoughts fresh. I get bored easily, so I like to keep on my toes however I can.
4. Mark it up.
Whether a physical copy or digital version, marking up a book (underlining, highlighting, notes, etc.) provides multiple benefits. First, if ever you need to reference the book, you have already curated the main points. Second, if you read the book again, you can review what stuck out to you the first (or second, third, etc.) time through. It's fun to see the difference in perspective you sometimes have. Next, if you ever pass the book onto someone, they can see your notes and highlights, and compare their perspective to yours. Lastly, the interactivity helps you retain information.
5. Share what you read.
Sharing what I read helps me teach others. Teaching is the best way to learn. Also, I enjoy sharing information and providing insight about different topics I am passionate about. When I read, I expand my ability to provide more of those insights, and find the experience invigorating.
6. Listen to books.
This might fall into the reading loophole, but my buddy practices this strategy all of the time. He commutes about 40 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes at night. He has a subscription to Audible, and listens to books online. He puts the speed up on the readings too, to listen ("read") even faster.
Related: 6 Inspiring Summer Reads for Entrepreneurs
7. Buy cheap.
Ninety percent of the time I use Amazon to purchase my books. I will even purchase a used copy if it's available. Having a larger budget for more books allows me to purchase more. Purchasing more books allows me to read more. It's simple.
8. Keep your eyes open.
I find books I'm interested in reading everywhere. For instance, while traveling in Hong Kong I stopped at a book store and found about 50 books I want to read. I took a picture and now have a new list of books to purchase.
If you want to read more, reading has to become a priority. It has to take precedence over watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram or making snaps. We all have the same 24 hours. Some of us just know how to maximize every second.
10. Have dedicated reading time.
This helps to create a habit. Creating the habit helps you do more of it. Simple.
11. Join a book club.
Mark Zuckerberg has a club you can join. Different book clubs have different processes. It's motivating to read with others and share what you've read. It's also helpful for accountability. There are online groups or in-person groups. Figure out what's best for you.
12. Find a trusted referral source.
Ryan Holiday is my guy. He has a newsletter in which he recommends books. They range from fiction to non-fiction, but his lists are always a good source of reading material. Actually, I just flew to Costa Rica and Thailand, and before I left I shot him an email asking for his favorite book about writing. He made a recommendation and I bought and read it.
Find someone whom you respect that provides recommendations. This will keep your mind fresh with new books to read. Having a steady flow will help you stay motivated to keep reading, while establishing a compounding list of books.
Related: A Simple Rule That Could Change Your Life (and How You Buy Books)
13. Read in sprints.
Some days my attention span is less than others. During these days, I set 20-minute timers and read in 20-minute sprints. This helps me not get too burnt out, and allows me to feed my wandering mind after a dedicated sprint (where I may spend five to 10 minutes doing something else).
If you enjoy reading as much as I do, join my Facebook group of more than 12,000 entrepreneurs. We just started a monthly book club, where I'll choose a book to read for the month. We plan to have discussions and share our learnings. Oh, and make sure if you end up at the strip club to bring a book.