A lot of the material for this blog comes from books I’m reading or have read. I started reading my senior year of college. I never read much in college and I didn’t read at all in high school. I wasn’t interested in what other people were telling me to read. It wasn’t until I was a little older and all the strength coaches and fitness people I was following were constantly telling me to read more books if I wanted to be successful.
Here are some tips I have learned on how to be a more effective reader. I didn’t say read more. I think the ultra-competitive, I read 4 books a week people can shut up and concentrate on speed reading. I’m interested in learning when I read.
When choosing a book, I have no rules. I’ll read anything that's recommended to me if it piques my interest. If it sounds interesting to me, I’ll give it a shot. The third way I find a book is if it applies to something else I’m currently learning. I may buy a book, but wait to read it until more curiosity strikes.
I always have 3 or 4 books going at once. If one isn’t doing it for me, I can switch to another one. I’m also okay with skipping around. If I find a chapter isn’t doing it, or doesn’t currently apply, I’ll head to the next chapter.
When I started writing this blog, I started taking more notes. I used to do some highlighting, but nothing consistently. Some people, like author Ryan Holiday, go deep with their note taking. For me, I mark passages, pages and quotes by folding the page or using a small post it note. When I read something blog worthy, or something that I’d like to share with the GAIN coaches, I’ll summarize it in my notebook.
I never feel bad about not finishing a book. This took a while to become okay with, but Nassim Nicholas Taleb summed it up nicely in Anti-Fragile, by saying as soon as you’re bored with a book to move on. He also mentioned that unread books are more impressive than read books because they are potential new knowledge. I really like that, and will continue to buy books faster than I read them because of it.
The final thing, I try to actively read. No, not squatting and reading. I mean I won’t have the TV on or answer text messages in-between pages. It’s easy to become distracted, so I really try to read for short, but intense periods of time. For me, that’s always been first thing in the morning. I drink coffee and read until my attention is waining or I need to get moving.
The biggest barrier to read more was breaking all the rules I thought there were. I didn’t think you could read more than one book at once. I didn’t think skipping around was allowed. I thought you failed if you didn’t read it to the end. Once I got those constraints out of my way, I was not only able to read more, but read more effectively.
What are you reading? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!