If you are looking for advice on speed reading techniques, you’re out of luck. I’m not even a fast reader, but I can still down between 80 to 120 books a year. I have no secrets, just habits you might find beneficial.
Before I share my ideas, my intent is not about quantity. My primary aim is continuous learning. The benefit is that those I work with are rewarded through my increased creativity and imagination. That’s merely scratching the surface–more empathy, more confidence, a greater understanding of how the pieces fit the whole in this world, and so much more.
My 5 Tips for Increased Reading Volume
- I haven’t forgiven one of my kids for getting me hooked on Lost years ago. Or Jack Bauer of 24. Then there’s also Prison Break. You got it, binge watching. Want to read more? Cut back on a few shows. That’s more time for reading instead.
- I take books with me everywhere I go. That includes physical books too. Earlier, I was at a client site all day, but I still had Flawless Execution along with a few Moleskins not counting my tablet with more than 2,000 books on it. If I have to eat alone, I have a physical book with me. If I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, I’m reading from my tablet. Those small margins of time add up.
- Get an Audible subscription. I drive about 200 miles a week. About three times a month, I make long drives. I’m not listening to talk radio or music. I’m listening to books. When I walk each night, I’m listening to books. When I work out, I’m listening to books. When I work outdoors, I’m listening to books. Cal Newport, who says you can’t multitask?
- Quit reading entire books. I read a lot of technical books. But that doesn’t mean you have to read them linearly from the very beginning of the book to the end. Read selectively, take notes, apply your learning, then move on. For example, I’ve always wanted to read firsthand what Lou Mobley had to say about his Mobley Matrix. Specifically, I’m just focusing on two chapters of the out-of-print book, Beyond IBM.
- Finally, read with purpose. If you approach your reading with a primary aim in mind, unconsciously, you tend to read more. Just-in-time learning is my favorite tactic for getting up to speed on new concepts. I do so with focus and intensity without thinking about it. This even applies to fiction as I make my literature titles count. That’s why I squeeze in every minute I can for great books. Purposeful reading leads to more volume whether you are trying to read more or not.
I don’t care if you just read one book a month. The habits above will lead to a few more books each year compared to your current count. If that’s true, what’s the end result? I think I know the answer.
Title Photo Credit: Tookapic