How can you get the most experience in the least amount of time? Reading books.
Learning from others is the fastest path to wisdom. Have you noticed how many billionaires are starting their own book clubs? It takes a dedicated leader to invest so much time into learning.
I always loved reading books and I wanted to start reading regularly again, but I never had enough time to read. Not often (or for very long). In a last-ditch effort, I tried listening to audiobooks. I was surprised by how convenient they were to listen to. It didn’t matter if I was in the car or at the gym, I could always get some reading done.
Then one day this idea popped into my head. I usually worked 10 hours a day and it only took me about 8 hours to finish an audiobook. What if I started listening to one book per day? How long could I keep that up?
Since 2014, I’ve averaged about 5 books per week. If you do the math, that’s about 1,000 books. I’m still not completely sold on audio, but this experiment has totally reframed the way I look at reading.
Did you know there’s a wrong way to read books, especially the ones about business? I didn’t, but I found out that if you read them incorrectly, you’ll never unlock their secrets.
Business books are designed to change the way you think. That’s why so many of these books repeat the same principles and stories. It’s because the average person will never execute. They read these books, get high on motivation, and never commit to taking action.It’s unfair to say they “don’t want it bad enough.”
They do, but just don’t know how to use a business book.Which brings me to today’s blog post.
Here are some tips for reading one book per day, quickly, and getting the most out of them.
Technique #1: Use audiobooks and speed readers to read books faster
What apps help you read faster? Audible is my go-to app for listening to audiobooks. You can also use YouTube, Audiobooks, or BookMobile. If you like non-fiction books, I highly recommend the Blinkist app. It lets you browse through books and read through key insights via short 15-minute summaries. If you want to improve your speed and comprehension, apps like Spreeder or Outread are good options.
Technique #2: Increase reading comprehension by skimming text
How can you learn things faster? Try skimming a text from beginning to end then go back and reread it thoroughly. One study found skimming leads to improved comprehension. You should also stop frequently to reflect on what you’ve read. Ask yourself how you can apply each suggestion. Doing is an important part of learning, so try to apply what you’re reading at every opportunity. If you don’t, you’ll forget it quickly.
“It is clear that reading early in life is a critical factor in student success.” –– Anthony W. Marx, president of the New York Public Library, The New York Times
Technique #3: Developer reading habits with visualization and accountability
How do you make reading a regular habit? If you want to make reading a habit, you need to constantly remind yourself how important reading is to you. Picture how what you read will help you live a richer, happier and more fulfilling life. Schedule time aside to read and set a small goal for yourself that you’ll have no problem achieving, like reading 100 words per day. There’s a free app called Coach.me that lets you schedule reminders, join challenges, and track your progress.
Technique #4: Write goals before you read to focus your reading habit
How do you develop your reading habits? Before you start reading a book, decide that you’re going to change three things about what you do all day at work. Then, as you’re reading, find the three things and do it. If you’re using the skimming technique I mentioned above, you should know what you’re trying to get out of a text before you read it. Thinking about this before you start reading allows you to prime yourself to pay attention when you see related words and sentences.
“Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” –– Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, CNBC
Technique #5: Turn off music when you read to increase comprehension
Does music help you read or study better? Many people say music helps them focus, and I’m one of them. But the Mozart Effect, a term that suggests listening to music enhances intelligence, has been widely debunked. I have found some benefits though: soothing music helps you focus if you’re dealing with a lot of stress or anxiety; classical music instrumentals get the creative juices flowing; songs with lyrics work fine for mindless, repetitive tasks.
Technique #6: Use study techniques to make sense of what you’re reading
What are the best ways to study concepts? Take a walk. Studies show a 20-minute walk can boost memory. Apps like MindNode also help memory using mind maps that help you connect new concepts with stuff you already know. Drawing diagrams like hierarchies help you see how different parts relate to each other. One thing that always helps me is reading aloud versus in my head, and trying to write an education blog or summary about what I learned. When you teach your brain formats information in a more logical way in order to convey it back to an audience.
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.” –– Anthony Bourdain, A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines, Goodreads
Books Recommendations for 2018
Where can I find books to read? Aside from using Blinkist, my number one source for finding books is through podcasts like The Jordan Harbinger Show and Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu. Many of their guests have written some top bestsellers. If you want to find books like the last one you ready, The Book Seer is a great option. You tell the Seer what the last book you read was and he’ll tell you what to read next. I also frequently check out Goodreads, Ranker’s Best Sellers list, and WhichBook for great suggestions.
What are your books to read in 2018? I love making reading an actionable thing, so most of my choices are tied to an area of life that I’m trying to improve. Here are some on my list, sorted by section.
Business Book Recommendations
Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace explores the peaks and troughs in the history of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios along with Ed Catmull’s personal journey towards becoming the successful manager he is today. In doing so, he explains the management beliefs he has acquired along the way and offers actionable advice on how to turn your team members into creative superstars.
Hooked by Nir Eyal explains, through anecdotes and scientific studies, how and why we integrate certain products into our daily routines, and why such products are the Holy Grail for any consumer-oriented company. Hooked gives concrete advice on how companies can make their products habit-forming, while simultaneously exploring the moral issues that entail.
Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger is all about the effect other people have on the clothes you wear, the music you like and the decisions you make. The book explains how actions, thoughts, and preferences are shaped by others, and how by understanding this process, you can have greater control over these influences.
Leadership Book Recommendations
Are You Fully Charged? by Tom Rath is a guide to eliminating your off days, one positive interaction at a time. From socializing more to sitting down less, this book digs into easy-to-implement tips and tricks for generating the mental and physical energy you need, all by finding greater meaning in your life.
Superbosses by Sydney Finkelstein is the insider’s guide to understanding how charismatic, often controversial but unforgettable leaders tick. This book focuses on revealing the patterns and strategies of top-performing bosses, and explain how you can help your employees succeed by becoming a superboss yourself.
Sprint by Google Ventures partners Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz is a guide to start-up success, broken down into a five-day plan that lets you test new ideas and solve complex business problems. This book details what’s needed to move quickly from an idea to a prototype and, ultimately, make a decision on whether or not to launch.