28% of Americans didn’t read any books last year.1
You don’t want to be one of them, but it seems like there’s no time to read.
So here’s the system and tactics I use to easily read roughly 3 books a week.
The Best Way to Read
Listen to an audiobook at twice the speed while reading a normal book.
Before you call me crazy (which you should, by the way), this has several benefits:
- It’s proven that the more senses you involve in reading, the better you learn. When you engage both your sight with words and hearing with audio, the better you learn.
- The audio forces you to keep reading – it prevents daydreaming and forgetting that you should read
- The audio also isolates distracting noise
Read for 20 Minutes Every Day
With this simple habit, you can read a book a week (Assuming a reading speed of 400 words per minute, and an average book length of 50 000 words).
The daily reading goal is better than a goal to read a book a week, because you’ll just think “I can read tomorrow… the week isn’t over yet”. Here are 3 more tips to make sure you stick to the habit:
- Read as part of your morning routine. You’re the least likely to get distracted in the morning, because your “day” with all its responsibilities hasn’t started yet.
- Start small: begin by only reading for 5 minutes a day and gradually increase the time. Build the habit first, then make it harder.
- Get accountable. Tell a friend “If I don’t tell you I’ve read for 20 minutes today, you must eat all my cookies”. If you for some strange reason don’t have any friend who like cookies, use Beeminder. It’s a habit tracker which takes your money if you don’t meet your goal.
Always Know What to Read Next
The worst reason to not read is because you don’t know what to read next or don’t have the book.
But don’t worry, there’s a simple solution: spend two hours every month to:
- Decide what books to read
- Find them – you can use the library, amazon and websites with free ebooks.
- Write the order you want to read them. When you’ve read a book, cross it off the list and pick up the next.
If you don’t know what books to read next, here are some reading lists:
Speed Reading: A 7-Step Process
Speed reading at 1200 WPM (words per minute) is a myth – the comprension is comically small. And why read if you don’t learn?
But there are techniques you can use to increase your reading speed to about 600 WPM without loss of comprehension. Here is the 7-step process I use:
- Go to an extremely isolated place – Climb Mount Everest, lock your office or go to a park. Just don’t read where people can annoy you, because it takes several minutes to regain focus.
- Activate “Don’t Disturb” on your phone – Notifications are also interruptions. And if you’re reading on a device, disconnect from the internet.
- Put everything except the book in your backpack – Then the only thing you can focus on is the book.
- Set a timer for [x] minutes – Commit to doing nothing else than reading during that time. Setting a timer also prevents you from constantly checking the clock.
- Pre-read – Know what you’re going to read before starting, it’ll increase both your comprehension and reading speed. I first read or watch a book summary online by searching for [Title+Summary] on YouTube. Then I glance over the books’ headings, subheadings and vocabulary.
- Skim when what you’re reading is worthless, or you already know what the author is talking about. Reading every single word is a waste of time.
- Take notes when you find an interesting or practical idea. This will actually slow your reading speed, but again – why read if you don’t learn and use your knowledge?
Use Wasted Time to Read 2 Books a Week
We all waste a LOT of time doing chores, such as commuting, shopping, cleaning, eating, washing dishes, walking around and waiting. For me it adds up to at least 2 hours every day.
The point? You can spend all that time reading by listening to audiobooks. Create a habit of turning on an audiobook every time you start a chore.
WARNING! MATH: The average audiobook is 6 hours long, and I recommend listening at 1.5x speed. (The normal speed is hilariously slow). Listen for two hours a day and you’ll finish a book every two days.
Now you just need to get the audiobooks, so here are the 3 best places you can find them:
- Websites with public domain audiobooks. It’s free and doesn’t violate copyright, but the books are few and old.
- I don’t support it, but you can find the right audiobook about 50% of the time by doing a YouTube search for [book title + full audiobook].
- The place I use is Audible, which has a library of +200 000 books. It’s expensive but there’s a lot of tricks to cut the cost. If you want to support me and get an audiobooks for free, sign up for Audible’s 30-day free trial (Affiliate Link).
That’s it – read for 20 minutes every day following the “speed reading” tips. Then get some audiobooks and listen to them every time you waste time commuting, waiting or eating. You can then pretty easily read 3 books a week.
Now pick a book and start reading it – it’ll turn you into a genius. (And a besserwisser)
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