A couple of years ago, I found myself with too much free time on my hands. Like most people, I first gravitated toward consuming entertainment: television, games, movies, trading card games, sports, you name it. At some point, I discovered Ali Abdaal’s YouTube channel. Abdaal wasn’t like other creators I was watching at the time and one of the things that vibed with me was that he was constantly talking about books and how reading has changed his life. When I was younger, I was an avid reader. I first read comic books and manga, but I also read anything I could get my hands on, including, fantasy and science fiction. To read more, Adbaal suggested, one should get a Kindle.
The Best System for Reading Books
“All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”The Buddha
There are numerous benefits to owning a Kindle. I wrote about this at length, so I won’t go into too much detail. You should know that the Kindle is a device that removes the friction when it comes to reading. If you’re thinking about reading a book and you have a Kindle, you can do it in seconds. On top of that, the battery lasts for a long time, you don’t have to replace a Kindle for years, you can put thousands of books in it, there are no distractions, highlighting passages is a breeze, and the screen looks amazing. I know a lot of people love the idea of sitting with a book instead of a Kindle. Ultimately, the format doesn’t matter as long as it encourages you to read.
The Compound Effect
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”Darren Hardy
Over the past three years, I’ve read hundreds of books. I soon realized that, since I was reading non-fiction, a lot of people could benefit from my notes, so I posted summaries of pretty much every book I read on a website. I’ve read about personal finance, relationships, psychology, philosophy, and so on. While I’m by no means an expert in any of those areas, I must say reading completely changed my life. Ever since I started reading, I also implemented healthy habits, such as eating healthy food, exercising regularly, meditating, saving, investing, and so on. Reading was a healthy habit, but it also encouraged me to start other healthy habits as well. The ripple effect reading had on my life is hard to overstate. It’s like a tiny snowball that increased in size until it became this massive and unstoppable force.
“I take notes like some people take drugs…”Tim Ferriss
I love learning new things, so I came up with a note-taking system so that I don’t forget those ideas. Since most of the books I read are non-fiction, I write down summaries that I post online for others to read as well. I find myself going back to those summaries often and that’s how the ideas in the books take over. There was a time when investing a portion of my income felt alien to me, but the more I read about it, the more familiar it felt. Taking down notes also helps you have a dialogue with the author. You can challenge certain ideas and embrace the ones that resonate with you. This is one of the best parts about reading in my opinion and everyone should try it. Capture that information so that you can organize it and resurface it later using a second brain.
The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world; he who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.’’Albert Einstein
A book could be the best investment you ever make. Some of the ideas you find in books will give you a huge return on investment. If a book teaches you to eat healthy food, the $9.99 price tag is a bargain considering the impact that book could have on your life. Reading the right book can change the course of your life and whatever that book costs, that amount of money will return many times throughout your life.
Find a Mentor
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”Maya Angelou
Through books, you’ll be exposed to ideas from some of the most important people who ever lived. Think about all the ideas you could be learning about. One of the best things about reading is that you’re essentially reading from the experience of others. You don’t have to do things through trial and error to know if something is going to succeed or not. Some of the problems we’re dealing with have been questioned and discussed thousands of years ago. Happiness, money, the pursuit of simple pleasures, and parenting are but a few examples. People have been writing about those topics for literally thousands of years and you should take advantage of those findings to improve your life. Reading is the easiest way to connect with people who are long gone and to learn from their mistakes. In this way, reading can also change your life.
Don’t Be Illiterate
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”Mark Twain
Reading is a skill, but not using that skill is the same as not having it in the first place. In this day and age, most people know how to read, but few people do especially long-form content. So what’s the difference between someone illiterate and someone who can read, but chooses not to? Ignore television, social media, and the news. They seem like important things, but they’re not. Make time for reading and it can change your life.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”James Baldwin
A lot of people struggle with reading, but work on a schedule that works for you and make it a habit. Read in the morning because the day gets hectic, read while having lunch, or read before bed. Find the right time and do it every day. Soon you’ll discover timeless classics and you’ll be rereading them. Rereading is also important because every time you read a book, you’re a different person, so your insights change. Information is trapped in books, the idea is to extract that information and get something new every time.
I’ve read avidly for the last couple of years, but it’s never been about fulfilling a daily quota. Reading is about enriching your life somehow. For me, this means learning ideas that I can implement in my life so that I have a better future. For others, it might be about developing empathy for the characters. There’s a moral obligation when it comes to reading. It makes you a better person, it changes your view, it challenges your ideas, and it makes you less ignorant. Everyone benefits from reading, not just yourself, but everyone around you. Reading changed my life and if you let it, it will do the same for you too.