One book per week translates into about 50 books per year.
50 books per year will translate into about 500 books over the next 10 years.
According to Brian Tracy, this will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field (1).
There’s no doubt that reading can make all the difference in terms of your success.
And these days you can spend way less than an hour a day and still reap…
The Awesome Benefits of Reading
Besides from giving you an unfair advantage in your particular field, reading has lots of other sweet benefits. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of what reading does for you:
- Greater verbal abilities – People who read tend to have a more varied range of words to express their feelings and get their points across. The more books you consume, the higher the level of vocabulary will be.
- Improved focus and concentration – Engaging yourself fully in a book requires you to close off the outside world and immersing yourself in the text. This practice will over time strengthen your attention span.
- Reduced stress – A study performed at the University of Sussex showed that reading reduces stress. The participants only needed to read silently for six minutes to slow down heart rate and ease muscle tension (2).
- Improved memory – Every time you read, you create a new memory of what you read which is essentially means you’re exercising your memory muscles. With each new memory, your brain forges new synapses and strengthen existing ones which helps keep your memory sharp.
- It makes you smarter – Perhaps not surprisingly, research has shown that heavy readers tend to display greater knowledge of how things work and that having books at home is strongly linked to academic achievement (3).
How to Read More Books
Hopefully you’re fired up about reading more books. It’s really not that difficult to pull off once you get into the groove and make it habit.
I suggest you start by setting a goal for how many pages you’re going to read each day. My personal goal is 20 pages a day since it’s clearly doable and still works out to 30+ books per year.
The rest of my ”reading” is done listening to enough audiobooks to push me past the 50 books/year mark. But we’ll get to that.
Here’s how to become an effective bookworm:
- Build the routine – You need to decide on at least one time in your day where you get the bulk of your reading done. I use making my bed in the morning as my implementation intention to read at least 10 pages. It goes: IF I’ve made my bed -> THEN I’ll read at least 10 pages. Whatever is left of my daily goal of 20 pages I read before I go to sleep at night.
- Use the in betweens – Get used to bringing your book with you and always be on the lookout for times when you can get some reading done. Start forming the identity of an avid reader. Cut out time wasting tv programs and get a couple of pages read instead.
- Read the most compelling books first – I highly suggest you start with a book you truly feel like reading. In the beginning it’s all about forming the habit so it’s preferable to put off the heavier reads for later. The first book completed will make the second one much more likely.
- Celebrate – When you finish a book make sure to celebrate it. Be proud of yourself! Reading an entire book in these times of endless distraction is a win so pat yourself on the back. Then get an account on GoodReads and watch your list of finished books grow. Finding ways to celebrate your progress is crucial to reinforce the reading habit.
- Learn speed reading – Once you’ve gained some momentum I highly suggest you learn the basics of speed reading. This will allow you to get through your books much faster. Tony Buzan’s The Speed Reading Book is a great resource on this topic. So is this blog post by Tim Ferris.
- Listen to audiobooks – If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that a goal larger than 20 pages a day will be quite hard to sustain. This is where audiobooks come into play. Whenever I’m commuting or doing household work I’m usually getting some ”reading” done. Most audiobook services allows you to listen to your books at up to 3x speed which is a great substitute for speed reading.
Reading books is one of the most rewarding habits I’ve built and I’m sure it will be for you too. If you feel inspired to get your reading on, please let me know in the comments what book you intend to read and what your daily pages goal will be.
If you need some inspiration, here’s a list of life changing books chosen by personal development experts.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set,
I go into the other room and read a book.”
– Groucho Marx (Tweet that)
Do you know someone who should read this article? Please share the knowledge with him or her. Thank you! 🙂