Have you ever noticed how big expensive houses all have libraries?
Knowledge is basically free. Anyone can walk into a public library and read all they want without ever paying a dime. Yet, most people choose not to read. I was one of those people up until college when I realized very little that I learned in school will help me actually make money. Yes, the degrees and dimploma will help me get in the door, but if I actually wanted to make something of myself, make an impact and move forward, I’m going to have to read and read a lot. The best part is that I enjoy it and I hope this list will help you too.
Before I jump into this list of “How to’s” I want to throw something out to the ones that already read quite a bit. Darren Hardy gave out a challenge in his daily motivation videos, which I highly recommend, that instead of reading 32 books this year, read one book 32 times! That might seem excessive at first, but it struck a chord with me. The last five years I’ve read I’ve read over 125 books and I can’t tell you that I’ve read any of them twice. There is no way I’m collecting all the information from all of those books and remembering everything. So this year, I have a list of a few books that I will be re-reading with excessive notes so I take hard action on items I know will benefit me along with a few new ones – always need to keep it fresh right?
The reason why Darren says to focus on one book more than 32 different books, is so you take action. Take what the book is teaching you and use it. I can’t count how many times I left a speaker fired up and ready to take on the year to then completely forgetting everything he said the next day because I didn’t take my notes and take action on them every day. Same goes for books.
10 Pages at a Time
The reason why new years resolutions fail is because of discipline. Discipline is a four letter word to us all, but it’s the truth. It’s the day in day out grind that makes us quit. Don’t start the year off with how many books you are going to read, because that doesn’t help anyone. Trust me I’ve done it too many times. You’ll do one of two things, one, you’ll get a quarter of the way through the year and realize your goal is too big and you’ll pretty much give up and read only when it feels good. Or two, you’ll go fairly strong until the end of the year and realize you need to read 5 books in 2 months and you end up flying through valuable books just to hit your goal. You are losing in either category. Here is my solution, read 10 pages a day.
You can control 10 pages a day, but you can’t control how long your 25 books are. Go through this math with me.
10 pages x 260 (only counting weekdays just to make it easy on you) = 2,600 pages
2,600/185 (average non-fiction book size) =14 books!
14 books would put you ahead of 80% of Americans! That’s NOT even reading on the weekends! Control the controllables, not goals. Reading 10 pages a day is controllable and the outcome will speak for itself.
Create a wish list
You might not have heard about this new thing called Amazon, but it’s pretty cool. They have this tool called a “wish list” that is kind of like a shopping cart and your list for santa rolled into one. It is awesome. you should try it out.
Seriously, whether you use Amazon or not, create a list of books that you are excited to read. I don’t care why you are excited to read them, but write them down and save them somewhere. When you start to get near the end of the book you are on, buy your next favorite on your list. You are not going to read very often if you don’t like or are interested in what you are reading.
Read more than one book at a time
This one sounds weird, but I have been reading more than one book at a time for years. I never get bored. I have one book I like to read in the morning before I open my email. This book is always a book that helps me be better at my job and business. It helps me start my day off right without starting email.
I usually have one or two more books I am reading. One other non-fiction business or sales book, because I like to keep my mind fresh and then I try to have one other “fun” book. This fun book is either fiction, history, biography or something on pirates. I like to read books that don’t take a lot of thinking before bed. This helps me wind down for my night.
The idea of reading three books at a time might sound crazy, but it’s really not very hard. It is not hard to keep track of either, you don’t give your mind enough credit. My only warning for this challenge is that you’ll go through books much quicker this way, and you’ll need to keep your wish list full!
Keep yourself accountable
Accountability is something that no one likes to talk about or do, because on the surface it sounds dumb. Yes, asking someone to follow up with you on if you are reading a book you said you were going to read IS DUMB. That is not what I’m implying. Let’s take a real-life example: if you told your buddy you were going to watch the game and he should come over to watch it, and he says “I’m not sure if I can get away from my to-do list on that day, but if I finish early I’ll come over.” Most likely you aren’t going to leave the house and do something entirely different in case he gets done and decides to watch the game.
The simplest way to keep yourself accountable is through friends with the same interest. Asking people if they have ever read the book you are about to start is a great way to start up the conversation. After they tell you “No I haven’t, but let me know how it is” – Boom you have a slight bit of accountability to let them know eventually. Yes, maybe they’ll forget, but in your mind and word, you told them you would tell them.
Of course that is a small example and you can expand that as much as you want, but accountability is simple and effective. Use it to your advantage. Tell people what you are reading about and let them know you are willing to share your notes and what you learned if they are open to it. Everyone loves a chance to get the Cliffnotes without reading the full book!
Track Your Results
I have tracked my progress a few different ways. once, I had paper taped up on the back of my closet door to see how far I’ve come in a year. I also kept a ledger and crossed out the number of books I’ve read. Now I have crossed over into the 21st century and started using the internet and a site called goodreads.com.
You can use the site as you read books but you can also use it as your wish list too. It’s also a place to see what your friends are reading and what books they’ve rated. You can also challenge each other, even though that goes against the 10 pages a day point.
When you create your profile on Goodreads, look me up and see what I’m reading. I’d love to see what you are reading as well!