As I’ve said before, reading books is the fastest way to absorb information (until we succeed in connecting ourselves to a global Brainternet, but that’s cheating, and it’s not quite possible yet either).
I read a fair amount and I’m often asked how I do it. It’s not hard, really. If you can make time to go to gym, jog, or run on a hamster wheel, you can make time to read. Reading is mind gym, and it burns real calories, so if you read enough, you can cut back your Peloton time guilt-free (that’s my excuse anyway).
That said, if you want to get better at reading, here are my best suggestions:
1) Read everyday. Set an easy minimum daily goal of say 30- 50 pages a day to start. Choose a page target based on your natural reading speed. Set it so that it won’t take more than a lunch break to get through. I read fairly fast (because I have 30 years of hard practice), so I aim for 100 pages a day which is about an hours worth of reading a day, but you would be amazed at how many books you can get through if you just stick to 50 pages a day. You can do that on the loo.
2) Have a set reading hour time. I recommend accompanying your reading hour with ritual beverage. Your hour can be anytime that works for you. Be that in bed with coffee before your day starts, over a conscious lunch break, an after work tea time sit down, or a civilised after dinner affair with a whisky and cigar. Whatever fits in your day and suits your personality. (Bonus tip, having the beverage in your spare hand stops you looking at your phone. This is reading time, not screen time. Focus.)
3) When you finish a book, start the next one right away. Even if you just one or two pages into the next book, always have something unfinished and on the go to come back to (this is my top tip to read more).
4) Only read what you love and/or learn from. I have no problem abandoning books that don’t make me either happy or inspired. Life is short. There are more books in the world than anyone of us can hope to read in our lifetimes, so if it doesn’t work for you, move on.
5) Switch between fiction & non fiction as much as possible. Feed your analytical and your imaginative side. You will be amazed at how much much fiction and non fiction fit together and feed each other. Reading is about making connections and connecting dots. Go wide. And go deep.
6) Decide what you really want to read. Keep a list of books you really want to get to and through. This is partly why I choose to buy my own books. I’m committed to reading that which I have considered carefully to be valuable enough to spend money on. (Bonus tip: Older books are generally better books. Sorry contemporary authors. Avoid best seller lists while they are hot. Wait for things to cool off. If you want to be interested and interesting, try reading things that others are not. Read what interests you, not what interests others. Every book you read and enjoy will point you to the next one.)
7) Real books are less tiring to read than ebooks, and because we can retain and recall more information after reading off paper, reading becomes that much faster, easier and more meaningful.
8) Keep a record of what you read. It will keep you motivated when you see the progress you’ve made over time, and will hold you clarify, recall, and link learnings from each text.
9) Only read one book at a time.