Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.” —Kofi Annan
Will Smith has a famous speech where he said that the two keys to life are; running, because it teaches you persistence, and reading because there`s no new problem you can have that someone hasn`t already solved and wrote about it in a book.
This may sound new but it`s not. All successful people know that. Charlie Munger was famous for saying “Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.” And his buddy, Warren Buffet, reads 500 pages every single day. And from my humble understanding of life; if the second richest man in the universe tells you to do something, then you`d better roll up your sleeves do it.
I started reading when I was young, I immediately got hooked up with the fiction books mom used to buy me. But at one time in my life, I stopped. And only when I came back to reading I realized how much time, money and opportunities I`ve wasted by choosing to experience life through trial and error instead of learning from other people`s mistakes and wins.
Reading, in case you don`t know, is a muscle that you make stronger by exercising more. You may start slow and stumble, but if you do it a lot —which you must— you`ll get better at absorbing lots and lots of books in a very short time. And you can check these tips for a starter.
Look for the nuggets
When reading books, the most liberating mind-shift you can have is this one: less is more. Most authors write long books not because they want to but because they have to. The majority of them have one or two key ideas, at best, which can be summarized in no more than 30-40 pages. But since no publishing company will invest in a 30-page book, authors add more, sometimes meaningless, chapters to make their books more appealing to “buyers” not readers.
My advice to you is to look through the table of content for one or two nuggets to comprehend or share with your friends. Look for the most interesting 2-3 chapters, read them and keep the rest of the book for another time. Usually, the rest is far less important than you can imagine.
Read In Clusters
Want to read more books in half the time? Read in clusters. And by that I mean:
- Books on the same topic
- Non-fiction books by the same author
Each new book you read on the same topic will be much shorter because you already know most of what it says. Amazingly, this allows you to guiltlessly skip through the book without missing on its key ideas.
I usually do the same thing with books that are written by the same author. No author, no matter how good he is, doesn`t repeat himself. You`ll always find at least one or two ideas that are repeated in one of his previous books. You can benefit from this by choosing to time to read books not randomly, but by the author. More often than not, you`ll read three or four books at the time of one or two.
Learn Where to Start
I believe that not all chapters deserve to be read from paper to paper. So let`s agree on the idea that you`ll have to skip through repeated, outdated, or seemingly boring chapters and begin with reading:
- The first and last chapters
These are the chapters that will answer the ‘Is this book worth it?’ question.
- Chapters that have interesting headlines
These are supposedly the most interesting part of the book. If you like them, then congratulations because you`ve already got about 80 percent of what you need to know. And if you found them outdated, boring, or not-delivering, then lucky you. You`ve saved your precious time and now you`re ready to call it a day or jump to another book.
Always Check YouTube For Reviews
I don’t know why only very few people check YouTube for book summaries before jumping right off to read. Yes. watching a five-minute book summary on YouTube isn`t the same as reading an entire book, BUT, it will tell you more about the book you`re about to read and thus make skimming through it much easier. These short reviews are amazing because videos are more appealing, they simplify complex material for you and help you skip through the book 10X faster.
Why read a book in one month when you can listen to it in less than five hours? Most audiobooks are no more than 8-12 hours in audio length. This may sound like a long time but don`t forget that:
- You can listen to them anywhere (Seriously, even in the shower).
- You listen faster than you read
- You have more time to listen than read (traffic, showering, gym…etc.)
Unless the speaker speaks so fast, I usually set the speed at which the audiobook plays at 2X. This allows me to finish a book in 4-6 hours instead 10 or 12, which means I can finish up to three books a week with minimum effort.
But what if you like to take notes? Well, that`s easy. Make a mental note of any memorable word that represents the main idea you want to highlight, search it in the PDF version of the book and highlight it.
If the phrase you want to highlight is: “How to sell your old oven on eBay instead of the flea market” then wait until you`re done listening, search the word “flea,” or “E-bay” —which are less likely to be repeated more than once or twice across the book— and highlight it. Now you have the best of both worlds so will you do??? Leave a comment with the first three books you want to read this month.