This year is the first year I will finish the year with around 52 books read. I didn’t plan for it, nor was it my goal (30 books was my original goal, though I increased it to 40 halfway the year). Though let me share with you how I managed to reach this reading level, which is like CEO level according to some, or the level that Bill gates does), though I read because I like it, not because I aspire to be somebody else.
1. Read multiple books at the same time
There hasn’t been any moment that I was reading just a single book. I have like four or five books that I am reading at any moment. The main reason I do this is that of number 2 and 3. I use different formats (physical, audio, and ebooks) and where I read.
2. Read different formats
My favorite format is the good old paperback. However, this is not always an option. Either because it is not published as a paperback or because I would like to consume it during cycling. Also, there are ebooks of course, though I am not a big fan of them (or at least I haven’t found a nice way of consuming them). Of course, I could buy yet another dedicated device for it, but for that feels like overkill. A note on audiobooks: I read them on double speed. It is remarkable how easy for the brain it is to process faster audio, though build this up quite gradually I would recommend.
3. Have books always nearby
In my backpack which is like always near to me, I have a book with me. This is like my main book. In my living room, I have another book (currently Poor Charlie’s Almanack which is really more a living room book from a size perspective). In my car, I have a book in case I go somewhere without a backpack, and I want to read, and lastly, on my phone, I got my audiobooks and ebooks.
4. Create reading habits
I have standard moments when I read. When I m traveling, but I don’t have to drive myself I read. When I am cycling, I put on an audiobook and read. When I have some more time in the morning, I pick up a book and read. When I get my son to soccer practice, I read for like the first 45 minutes and watch the rest. Creating moments when you read is a huge advantage and gives you a lot of reading time.
Something that didn’t work for me, but could work for other is to force yourself reading every day a fixed amount (minutes or chapters). I did it during my holidays by reading one chapter per day. Even though I read more, I enjoyed it less. Though it can help you in building a habit, though make sure to commit to it for 3-4 weeks at a minimum.
The reading list
All the books I read you can find here at Goodreads. If you’d like you could also follow me there to get more real-time updates on what I am reading.
Out of the books I have now completed I would recommend most of them, though especially I would recommend:
Concise summary: life is not chess it is poker, and you should not confuse poor outcomes with poor decisions. Really good for people who want to understand their decision making a lot better.
If you are leading a group of people, it is mandatory to read this from my perspective. It shows that you don’t have to do all the crazy things (80 hour weeks, endless meetings, busy, sleep deprivation) to be really good at what you do. Of course the precursor of the book: rework, already shared such insights with you.
Everything is an algorithm nowadays, however, what is an algorithm, how does it work and how would it be applied. An excellent book to get started with a better understanding of the new/current world of computer science.
I think the only fable I read this year, but a great short (audio)book that reminders that ambitious challenges are full with ambiguity and uncertainty but that if you are willing to tackle the unknown, you can complete most challenges.
Don’t let your brain do things that a checklist can. That is what my takeaway from this book is. If you weren’t aware: your mind is unreliable, you can not remember every step and a checklist can be based on examples shown in his book, actually save lives. Also, it provides an excellent blueprint for a useful checklist (so like a checklist for checklists ;)).
Every summary I would write would do a disservice for this superb book. It is the story about and by Viktor E. Frankl during WW2 while staying and surviving the concentration camps. This quote gives you the best indication of what it will be about:
Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a pursuit of power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a search for meaning.
For next year I aim at 40 books again. If you have any suggestions, please let me know, always looking for good reading tips.