Reading is one of the best habits you can develop.
Warren Buffett, regarded as the best investor of the 20th century, estimates that 80 per cent of his working hours are devoted to reading books. If Buffett deems reading to be that important, it’s obvious it’s a habit more of us need to take up.
Reading is often seen as a chore. Nowadays, it’s easier to log on to Netflix and be entertained, rather than pick up a book and let your imagination run wild.
However, reading offers more benefits than a Netflix binge. Studies have shown it can increase our emotional intelligence due to the range of motivations and perspectives you need to digest while reading.
While mental stimulation has also been shown to reduce the onset of dementia too. Reading helps keep the brain active. As we read, we create mental simulations of the stories we are reading, which stimulates our neural pathways.
It is far from the passive activity it is seen to be!
8 Smart Ways To Read More Books
Reading opens you up to new perspectives and ensures that you are constantly learning about new concepts as opposed to stagnating.
Developing a healthy habit is not easy. It’s easier to do something without thinking than consciously make an effort to add value to our lives.
With these 8 tips, you’ll be able to develop a habit for reading and enjoy it, in no time!
8. Quit Early
This may seem like odd advice, but bear with me!
I used to read books until the end no matter what. It didn’t matter whether I liked them or not, I kept reading. I felt I had to read every book I read until the end.
While this may sound like good advice, it’s not. If you’re reading a book and you aren’t getting any value from it, you should stop. You’re just wasting your time if you carry on.
I received a book from my brother this Christmas. On the surface, it appeared to be a good book. It was on a topic I’m interested in and I was eager to read it. However, a few pages into the book I realised it was not living up to my expectations.
I became bored and was eager to turn the page instead of savouring what was on each page. Eventually, I gave up and put it down. It just wasn’t worth my time to carry on and read the book when I felt like it wasn’t offering me anything of value.
If you feel the same way about a book, don’t be afraid to do the same. You are under no obligation to finish every book you read.
If you’re not feeling it, ditch it!
7. Read Two Books At Once
Again, on the surface, this appears to be bad advice. How the hell can you read two books at once, you ask?
Well, it’s easier than you think!
When I say read two books at once I don’t mean literally read two at once, that would be stupid. Instead, you have two books that you are concurrently reading. You simply switch in between them during the day and the week.
This strategy has helped me read books such as The Shock Doctrine and Meditations and not lose interest. Switching between different genres of books is a good idea when you find your determination to read waning.
Sometimes, I like to read parts of one book one day and continue with the other one the next. This way I can get through two books much quicker than I otherwise would.
I often get engrossed in the books that I read, so when I have two on the go simultaneously, it can be hard to put them down if I’m enjoying them.
I tend to find myself reading more than usual just so I don’t feel like I’m missing out when I put it down for the other book!
Another benefit is that reading two, or multiple, books at once will keep your mind and thoughts fresh. If you get bored easily this is a great way to combat that particular demon!
6. Read 20 Pages Per Day
20 pages a day may not sound like a lot, and it isn’t in all honesty. However, if you’re just starting, or looking to get back into reading, it’s a good place to start!
Reading 20 pages a day is a realistic goal that most people can achieve. The number one reason people fail at adopting new habits is that they set themselves lofty goals that are unattainable.
Are you going to read 50 pages a day if you haven’t read for over a year?
By starting at a figure such as twenty, you’re giving yourself a good base to start from and not setting yourself up for failure in the long run.
Once you start getting into the swing of things, you don’t have to stick to only reading twenty pages a day. You can up the number of pages you’re reading daily.
Try reading thirty, once you’re comfortable push yourself to read forty and so on. When people ask how to read 100 pages a day, this trick is one of the best ways to do it.
This tip is about setting yourself up so reading becomes a long-term habit and not a flash in the pan!
5. Listen To Books
This tip is not strictly about reading more, but listening to books is an effective way to digest more useful information.
There are lots of times during the day when it’s not practical to read a book. Daily commutes can be crowded and sometimes there isn’t enough space to read without distraction.
If you drive to work, then there is no way you can read during your drive to work. This is where the benefits of listening to your favourite books come in.
You can subscribe to a service such as Audible, download your favourite books and listen to them while you go about your daily business!
This is a great way to utilise time that is often lost in the mundanity of life. Plus, you can listen to books quicker than you can read them!
If you set the speed at 1.5x the normal speed, you’ll be able to get through more books by listening to them than you would otherwise have thought!
It’s a simple hack that is easy to implement!
4. Buy Cheap Books
One of the things that hinder people’s efforts to read more books is the cost of books. If you head into any bookstore, the prices can make your eyes water!
The premier bookstore in the UK is Waterstones, and the prices for some of the books can be expensive.
Well, you don’t have to rely on shopping at book outlets, you can shop elsewhere and save yourself some money in the process. Amazon is the natural calling point, you can find virtually any book you can imagine there, and they are often selling at reasonable prices.
As well as Amazon, you can take a walk in your hometown and check out second-hand book stores. These places can be goldmines for cheap and lesser-known books.
Some of them may not be in the best condition, but that’s beside the point. You’re buying the books for what’s in them, not how they look on the outside.
The cheaper you can buy your books, the more money you have to spend on other ones!
3. Have A Dedicated Reading Time
Finding time to read can be difficult. A lot of us lead busy lives that mean we are constantly rushing around and stressed.
It’s hard to find time to read, and sometimes, all you want to do is relax in bed or in front of the TV after a long day.
One way to counter this is to set aside a certain part of the day as reading time. It could be 20 minutes, or it could be 1 hour, the length of time isn’t what’s important.
Simply setting aside the time each day is what is important. By reading at the same time every day you are creating a habit, which in turn means you are more likely to continue reading.
I like to read for a few minutes when I get up and for about 30 minutes or so before I go to bed.
By doing this each day I instinctively reach for my books at this time. The habit is ingrained in me. By doing the same you will find yourself reaching for your books without even thinking!
2. Join A Reading Newsletter
This is one of the best things I have done to improve my reading habit. One of the hardest things is knowing which books to read. There are so many to choose from that it can lead to decision fatigue at times.
Thankfully, since joining Ryan Holiday’s newsletter that issue has become a thing of the past. Every month he sends out an email with recommendations on books he has been reading during the month.
A lot of the time there are books on his list that I have never heard of, or would never consider reading. Not only does this provide you with new material to read, but it opens yourself up to new areas of interest.
You don’t have to join Ryan’s newsletter just because I said so. There are numerous newsletters out there that do the same thing. Maybe Ryan’s recommendations aren’t for you, maybe someone else’s is more suited to your taste.
This is beside the point. By joining one of these newsletters you are provided with a constant stream of recommendations. You don’t have to go out of your way to find new books, a handy email drops into your inbox every month with tips on what to read.
It’s a simple and easy trick that will not just allow you to read more books but ones which will broaden your horizons.
1. Always Be On The Lookout For New Books
I always keep my eyes open for new books no matter where I am. Even if I’m in a foreign country where English isn’t the first language, I still check out bookstores to see what English language books, if any, they have.
You can often find several intriguing books this way. I came across a few while I was living in Spain, and snapped them up right away.
You don’t have to buy the books if you come across them. Take a picture of them and add them to your list for later.
I have a huge list of books on my phone that I intend to get through. A lot of these have either have come from books I discovered in stores, on Amazon and in other random locations.
By having a list of books that you want to read, you are developing and feeding your reading habit.
This makes it more likely that you will continue reading, instead of giving up once the well runs dry.