Apologies for the cliché title, but if I made a list of things that I personally find transformative… learning, and especially reading, would be towards the top. It’s a true game-changer.
I have always been a voracious reader. In fact I remember how often I would get called a nerd in school by other kids for reading, or yelled at by teachers when I would get bored, stop listening, and pull out a book in class.
I mean if you’re not going to teach me I might as well teach myself right?
No! Bad student! (Read: soulless mind-slave). Yay for social pressures to stop doing positive things! 🙂
Nevertheless, I still read a ton to this day. I have found the simple act of grabbing a good book when you want to learn about a topic or acquire a skill is transformative. And I use that word without exaggeration.
Isn’t it amazing to think that knowledge on almost any topic is just a book away?
For any topic you could ever want to learn about, there is someone who has studied the topic for decades and condensed all of it into a few hundred pages.
Simply put… it’s really freaking cool when you think about it.
Recently a couple friends of mine started the habit of reading 1 book per week, or 50 books in a year. This wasn’t a long way from what I was already doing, so I decided to jump on that bandwagon!
Here’s my current reading list that I am building out for this year:
(I actually have a full list of books I want to read that is several hundred titles long)
In just a few months, it’s exciting that I will have learned a ton about…
- Work-life balance
- Influence and charisma
In fact (geek out moment here) I often find myself getting overly excited about books…
“Oh! I can learn more about evolutionary psychology with this book! And how to read facial expressions with this one…Oh cool and I always wanted to learn a bit more about a Buddhist monk’s view on quantum entanglement!” (real examples)
And then I proceed to buy dozens of books that I will never have the time to read.
This is one of the reasons why I think it will be helpful to be more intentional about this goal. I tend to read random books at random times, but this way I will be able to track how much I read, and WHAT I am actually reading.
I’ve created the above list based on which books (out of the list several hundred long) best relate to my current goals.
“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
Great strategies to maximize this goal:
- Read 30 minutes every morning and evening (AWESOME way to start and end the day and automatically knocks out 1 book per week)
- Listen to audiobooks at 1.5x speed (or 2x if you can handle it) – Thanks Kurt for this suggestion.
- Create an Evernote notebook called “Book Notes” and create one note for each book to jot down ideas and realizations.
- Make sure to take action on at least 1 thing from every book that you read – it’s not just what you know but what you DO with what you know! (The Evernote tip makes this a lot easier)
One final thought:
I have a weird fear I will run out of things to read/learn some day. The thought is that yes you can learn the basics of everything in a book, and most intermediate level topics, but if you want to learn about advanced particle physics or something, the list of available topics is quite a bit smaller.
Then you have to start picking up textbooks to read. And that just sucks…
What are YOU reading this year?
If you DON’T have a reading list, what is something that you can drop to find an extra 30 minutes per day to automatically have the time to read dozens of books this year
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Not only am I trying to read every day, but I’m trying to *write* every day as well! Check out my newest habit here: How to Create New Habits (And Watch Me Create One Live!)
A really nice Huffington Post article on How to Read a Book a Week