Reading offers numerous advantages, it can improve your overall health, you can build your vocabulary, it reduces stress, you can sleep better and it improves children’s cognitive skills, among many others. Many successful people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk see reading books, as a way to learn new skills and incorporate new habits. According to a recent study though, reading is at an all-time low. Around 25% of American adults haven’t read a book in the past year and that includes books in print, electronic and audio form. But how can you read more books? And how can you fit reading books into your already busy schedule?
As part of this blog post, I’ll share with you 8 tips that will allow you to read more books. By following these tips, I managed to read around 50 books a year which is roughly one book a week, something I didn’t think possible just a few years ago. By the way, these tips are in no particular order, so you can start following the list however you prefer.
Make It a Habit
In his book Atomic Habits, James clear defines the titular atomic habits as “a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do but also the source of incredibly power”. Here’s a summary of the book if you’re interested, but the idea is that by changing small things, we can improve your life dramatically. So read regularly, read before bed or when you wake up, make it a fun activity, and make it enough that it becomes part of your daily routine.
Be More Selective About What You Read
To put it in simple terms, if you want to get more out of what you read, you’ll have to read more of certain books and less of others. For instance, self-improvement books will give you infinitely more value than fiction. While the latter will keep you entertained, the former will teach you lessons that you can apply to different aspects of your life. So try to find books that help you grow in the parts of your life you want to improve.
Get a Kindle
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the Kindle is the single piece of technology that has changed my life the most. Before getting the Amazon e-reader, I romanticized books and saved money to order books I’d never read. Now that I have a Kindle though, I take that device with me wherever I go which has allowed me to read dozens of books. The best part about the kindle is how “frictionless” the entire experience is: you turn on the device and in a matter of seconds you’re reading. There are no distractions, no social media, no apps, or anything else that might disturb your reading. Also, a kindle can pack hundreds if not thousands of books, the process of buying them is lightning fast, its battery can hold a charge for weeks, the device is really small and the screen looks amazing.
It may not seem like much, but if you use the time you spend waiting in line, riding on a train, or even lunch breaks reading, you’ll start finishing books in no time. Also, if you are going to be using social media anyway, you might as well follow people who are into books which might encourage you to read even more.
Listen to Audiobooks
Most of the reading I do happens on an e-reader, but there’s a great way to complement a more traditional reading experience: with audiobooks. Though not technically reading, audiobooks engage you with the alluring voice of a narrator. The great thing about audiobooks is that they allow you to experience a book in situations where you normally wouldn’t be able to read. For example, you can’t read a book while driving to work, biking, or doing exercise, but with audiobooks, this is suddenly a possibility.
Stop Reading Bad Books
There are so many genuinely great books out there, that you shouldn’t be wasting your time on books you’re not passionate about. Sometimes I hear a glowing review about a book, but when I’m actually reading it, I notice my mind wandering and I think about something else. Regardless of how other people feel about certain books, focus on what you genuinely like. Reading something you dislike is simply a waste of time and if you see yourself avoiding a book, you might as well move on to something else.
Goodreads is a social network owned by Amazon that revolves around books. This is probably one of the best ways to get recommendations based on what you’ve read and the authors you like. Goodreads is also great to keep track of all the books you’ve read over time and there’s some sort of good feeling associated with adding new books to your “currently reading” list, as well as adding books you’ve already read.
In order to decide what to read next, I write down the names of the books on a sheet of paper and read summaries and customer reviews on Amazon. Of course, not every review is going to be as helpful as you’d want, but they give you a general idea of what you’re about to read. This has been tremendously helpful over the past few months and has saved me a ton of time.