It’s an open secret that we all want to read more. But can we actually read more? How to read more books?
Whoever we are, whatever we might do for work, there lies in us a very primitive urge to read more. The benefits are clear for everyone to see. We know them. Too well perhaps. And in this age of fake news and spam attacks, we all know how important it is to have a good source of knowledge. A source which is reliable and provides information that is not just a ‘trivia’ to throw around in gatherings and parties. But the actual knowledge that can help us be a better job at our workplace, and more important, become smarter, wiser, a well-rounded person.
So where do we find such a source?
Google is a vast sea which throws at your shore only those things which people are throwing in it in the first place. And people throw all kind of things. Good, relevant things are hidden behind piles of junks that are vying for your attention. Clickbaits and Clicktraps abound. The cost is the time which you need to spend in hoards before you find the right resource. And as we all know, time is limited.
Good Books are the answer.
Books, fiction or nonfiction, expands our minds and imaginations. Help us learn new things, and embed that learning through a narrative that is absent in google. You can’t memorize facts. You can if you are hell bent to, but you’ll forget. Facts never lead to wisdom. Wisdom can only be achieved through the stories.
Humans love stories.
Humans learn through stories. That’s how we have evolved. That was (and is) the primary method through which wisdom of the ages got passed down generation after generation. Initially, it was signed, then scribbling on the walls. Then the numbers which were the first language humanity invented. Then came the verbal language, followed by the written form we say today.
Each one of these has one common thread. There was always a narrative involved. A thread that binds the different threads of data into a coherent piece of information. A narrative. A story.
Reading is on the rise.
Contrary to what experts predicted reading is on the rise. We are reading more than ever. Facebook and Instagram and Whatsapp and Snapchat – each one of these is sending us stories which are threaded in words.
White lies of social media
The social media is filled with words. But how many of these are worthy to be read? One of the biggest challenges that google and facebook are facing today is the spread of fake news. It’s the plague of the internet. Few of the biggest stories on Facebook, most shared and most liked, are fake news!! And against the popular notion, not only the old generation is vulnerable to them. The smartest and savviest of all are believing stories that are utterly fake.
One book is worth a thousand blog pages.
Read more books. This is the only way out. One book can help you more than a thousand get better articles you find on the internet. The (good) books have a narrative, that bind carefully chosen pieces of information and binds them into a story. You learn more. Retain better. And through those characters, you are able to relate more to different situations.
The end result, wisdom!
So, first the question? Can we read more? Before we answer how to read more books?
Answer is Yes!
See my reading stats.
Before 2013 I used to read around four books a year. That’s it. The number might improve a year, but overall that’s what I managed.
Now I’m reading forty!
That’s a ten times improvement. How did it happen? Did I plan something out? Did I know it will happen?
The answer is NO.
It’s only looking back that I can now tell what helped and what not. The benefit of hindsight. So I’m sharing each and everything that helped me. And if you follow it, you will definitely be able to do the same, even better.
So here goes the secret for how to read 10x times more books. How to read more books?
1.Stop Reading/listening to News to read more books.
That was the first thing I did. One of my B School Professor taught me that. And this is the single most important thing I learned in my two years in college.
The news is to your mind the way sugar is to your body.
It fills you up leaving no space for the nutrients to occupy. And it makes you lethargic. Worse, after some time it morphs into a drug that you must take everybody. Your mind gets a hit, a spike in your hormones that give you a temporary kick. You ‘read’ one piece of news, gets satisfied. But then the urge returns and you do it again. This is eating your mind. Trust me. You are not losing out if you don’t read what Bullshit Trump uttered. Or what Beyonce wore at Cannes. Or even what And many of the utter bullshit that they are uttering. You have to give up! Trust me, the worthy news will find your way.
The news today is ninety-nine percent noise, one percent signal.
You will not gain anything by reading /listening to such news. If anything you are getting worse. Get off this junk train. And see how much time you’ll find is there at your disposal.
2. Uninstall Facebook / Instagram etc Apps.
All social media apps have one thing in common.
They are all designed to hijack your time. To hold your attention for as long as possible. From the colors they use, the position of that like button, everything is carefully chosen to attract your attention. That’s it. They are NOT FREE. You are paying with your attention. So leave them! Now! They are much more expensive then they appear.
So what to do – don’t use them at all?
No – you don’t have to become a hermit. Just make it a little difficult for them to reach you. Use Chrome or Safari to access Facebook. And that too once or twice in a day. That’s it. Or remove the apps shortcut so that they don’t tease you the moment you unlock your phone. You don’t need to do more than that.
No need to put a strict ‘no use’ regiment. You are not in school!
Get an app that checks your usage pattern and see how many times you are checking your phone. Cut that by half for a week. Then by half of that in the next. On and on until you are released from the grip of social media.
3.Install website blocker
Initially step two would be difficult. So use a website blocker/app blocker. This is an important gate. Most of the times we don’t even realize we are checking Facebook just out of habit. This gate makes us realize that.
Once thwarted by a website blocker you’ll literally smile at yourself that you didn’t need to check FB in the first places. It’s just because these websites have created this habit in you. (and in process making millions selling ads!)
4. Start using Pomodoro
It’s such a simple hack that you’ll laugh at yourself. A simplest of techniques that anybody can use.
Just do this. Download any Pomodoro app from App Store. Simply talking it just is a timer that is divided into consecutive intervals of twenty minutes of work time followed by five minutes of rest. That’s it. I laughed at it thinking it’s not going to work. But it does.
Tis simple technique improves productivity like anything. Take a target to complete say five Pomodoro for reading in a day. And see what a simple timer does to you. With a limited time in mind (you have twenty minutes of work time), your mind starts focusing better. Try it to believe it.
Get a Kindle. Period. It’s available at Amazon. And you can check it out here.
You saw the stats above. What happened in two thousand and thirteen that spiked the number of books read from four to fifteen in 2013 and then forty the next year? The answer is I got a Kindle.
It single handedly helped my reading stats to shot through the roof. While the first four points helped me to get more time for myself. It helped me to use that time for reading. How?
It is as good as a paperback. Even better.
First advantage – you can hold a thousand books. No need to carry different books around. So light it is that you can carry it anywhere. Read in any lights. And the battery lasts for weeks.
It is not harmful to eyes.
It is backlit. That means that there are no harmful radiations impinging your eyes. It has e-ink technology. The blue light that is there in tablets and phones is not there. The result, you can read for hours without straining your eyes.
It’s cost effective
Even though learning can not be priced. But if you are the ROI types, even then buying a Kindle makes sense. E books are cheaper. So you’ll be saving good bucks in every book you buy. Over that Amazon Unlimited provides millions of books for a marginal subscription fee. In addition to the above, there are many internet resources where books are freely available. Gutenberg provides classics for free. And with the increased reading, you can cover up its cost within three-four years. (I did in two years with my reading progress, and I’m using the same kindle for over five years now!!)
It makes reading better.
Inbuilt dictionary, Wikipedia support, x-ray to give you backbone of the story. Highlights and notes-taking facility. All these features mean that you consolidate your learning from any book. This means that all your learning is forever stored in the cloud for you to access anytime, at any place.
And now the biggest selling point of Kindle – It does only one thing.
This is the single most important reason for you to go and buy it right now. You won’t believe but that really helps you read books. It does only one thing – provide you a platform for reading books. That’s it. There is no YouTube for you to waste time in between. No Facebook and Instagram to just check out what’s happening and end up wasting hours scrolling through feed that is no use to you.
Kindle does kindle your reading habit. In fact it fires it up like nothing else that is out there. I got it in two thousand and thirteen and still using the same one. Reading over two hundred books in process.
So if you want to read more, or love reading – Get a KINDLE. And see your reading experience change for the better.