Read More: How I Read 50+ Books Per Year
Warren Buffet was once asked by a student how to get to his level of expertise in investing.
Buffet paused, and reached into his bag for a pile of reports, trade publications, and selected works stating he should “read 500 pages like this every day”
Read more because it is the best investment in yourself.
As Warren Buffet said, it compounds, so as we read more, the patterns of thought commonly used to think about a subject become clear.
With a firm relationship with the conventional, new mental schema are born—this is how we can constantly grow. By using what we learn in one domain and combining with another, personal transformation is inevitable.
But you all know reading is important, the question is how we make reading urgent enough to read more.
Over the years I have collected tons of useful ways you can start to read more—check them out below. To live intentionally you must put effort toward yourself, and there’s no better investment than to read more.
Here’s how I read more, maybe they’ll work for you too.
Reading Mindset: It’s Not a Chore
Reading with the end in mind—finishing the book—is not the best place to start. When we are constantly thinking about the end, it is an easy route to making reading a nightmare.
If you look at reading as a chore you can never get excited about it.
Reading is not a punishment or something you endure to ‘check the boxes’. We read for self-growth. And if you are daunting the idea of reading, it may be time to change how or what you are reading.
Try focusing more on what you’re reading and less on the how much. When we focus on the process—reading for 15 minutes—rather than the product—finishing the book—we become stronger readers.
Only Read What You Want
Reading is a lot easier when you stop reading reactively and start reading proactively.
You probably have had a time in your life where you were told to read something, and that was the extent of when you read. But to read more we have to start reading less for others, and more for yourself.
People will tell you that you MUST read this classic or that classic, but unless a book speaks to you, don’t bother.
I don’t mean close yourself off to new things—please explore—just explore your interests and not what others want you to be interested in.
When you find books that you really are excited to know more about, you set yourself up for success.
Set Intentional Reading Times
If you want to read more, reading needs to become a priority.
We only get 24 hours, and it is up to us to choose how we spend it. To read more you need to give reading a spot in your schedule. Choose a time, and declare that nothing but reading is done during that time. Start as small as 15 minutes—remember, small actions matter.
If you find yourself wanting more, gradually increase how long you spend reading by minute intervals. It sounds tedious, but from my experience, it decreases the likelihood you will become too intimidated to read, while also motivating you to grow another minute each time you do read.
When you are intentional with the time you will read more.
Make Reading Part Of You
Social proof will always a strong motivator towards behavior change.
The Self does not stop at the skin. Part of who you perceive yourself to be is based on the relationships you form, and that means if you want to read more, you need to form relationships with readers.
Find people online or a person who loves to read and stick to them. If those whom you spend the most of your time with read, you will have no trouble reading more because it becomes part of your identity—a reader becomes who you are.
But say you can’t find a book club or a community of readers online. Influence isn’t limited to who you know, so why not just surround yourself with readers anyway.
I used this tactic when I first starting developing my reading habit. I created what Daniel Pink calls in his book To Sell Is Human, agitation. Agitation is challenging someone to do something they already want to do. I realized I could challenge myself to read as long as I had a constant reminder agitating me to do so.
So I would only read in the bookstore.
All around me people would silently browse titles or sip coffee as they sat around and, you guessed it, read.
I was agitated.
The bookstore was full of people reading, making it an optimal environment for convincing me to read. I knew what I wanted to be—a reader—and the bookstore help push me to become that.
For a community of online readers, check out the subreddit /r/books.
Give Up Reading Boring Books or Bad Books
If a book is not up to standards, stop reading.
We do not read to check the boxes, we read for genuine interest. So if you find yourself only reading on because ‘you have to finish’, recognize that why you started to read the book is not solely why you should finish.
It costs your time and attention to read. And the cost you pay for reading may be a poor investment if you are not fully engaged. I'm sure you'd rather read 2 pages of literary gold over 200 pages of a grudging experience.
You will read more books when you learn how to stop reading when a book is not up to code.
Stop causing the cost of reading to overrun its value because you narrow-mindedly want to ‘read a book’ for the purpose of finishing.
Read Only the Best Stuff
Go online and seek out the best books on the topic and read those.
A trick I like to use is reading the 3-star reviews on Amazon. Why? Because anyone who felt that ambivalent about a book has some insight on who said it better. By reading those reviews I guided myself to what another person found to be a better use of their time learning the subject.
You can also head over to the bookstores and ask the staff. Someone who spends most of their time around books is bound to have a title in mind for your interests, and if not, why not take the opportunity to find out what books they consider to be amazing.
Do Not Compare
Some read fast, some read slow. But you read to understand.
The number of books and the speed in which you read them matter little in the larger scheme of things. Reading is not a competition. How you read will not be the same as how I read. What matters is the value you accumulate from reading over time.
I would have never started if each time I read the advice of an avid reader I compared my reading discipline to theirs. Yes, take the avid reader's advice to see what works, but do not assess what is working by using another person’s reading stats as the sole metric.
A lot goes into becoming a better reader, so do not get caught up in speed—we will talk about speed in due time—or quantity first; just read. ‘Stop reading into it, and start reading some pages.’
Why do you read? And are you reading enough?
If you’re looking for some great books to start reading more, go check out the titles I have reviewed in my 2017 journal. There are tons of books about psychology, philosophy, meditation, and so much more. Go check out the special page I created to share what I’ve learned about living intentionally with you.
Find the Book Summaries page here.