How to Read More

How can you read more? This is something I deal with all the time. I haven’t been reading tons of books lately–I’ve been reading articles from academic journals, chapters from academic books, and articles. But still, when reading is important to you, whether it’s important to you because it’s part of your job, or you’re just aware of how enriching and fulfilling the process of reading is, you always feel like you could be reading more than you currently read. That hour at night before you go to bed just doesn’t cut it.

I am absolutely in love with this post by Ryan Holiday, How To Read More. Of Time, Money, and Purpose, I think the main barrier most people face is time. Here’s what he has to say:

The key to reading lots of book begins with stop thinking of it as some activity that you do. Reading must become as natural as eating and breathing to you. It’s not something you do because you feel like it, but because it’s a reflex, a default.

Carry a book with you at all times. Every time you get a second, crack it open. Don’t install games on your phone–that’s time you could be reading. When you’re eating, read. When you’re on the train, in the waiting room, at the office–read. It’s work, really important work. Don’t let anyone ever let you feel like it’s not.

Do you know how much time you waste during the day? Conference calls, meetings, TV shows that you don’t really like but watch anyway. Well, if you can make time for that you can make time for reading. (Or better, just swap those activities for books)

I think that the more you read, the more important it becomes to you. The sense of purpose that reading provides builds upon itself. In this way, it’s like exercise, eating well, engaging in non-work-related hobbies, or making time for the people in your life. It may not seem incredibly important to you at first, but as you become more sane and self-disciplined, it’s really hard to go back.

When I was reviewing books full-time seven years ago, I read two books a week. This was my strategy to the T–I brought books with me everywhere and read all the time instead of playing with my phone. It makes me cringe whenever someone says “but you’re only going to have time to read a page right now, why bother?” True, you do end up breaking your reading into multiple little chunks, but it’s really surprising how far you go towards your goals when you add up all of those smaller segments of time.

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Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.

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Can You Learn to be Lucky: Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others by Karla Starr

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