Today I learned I read more than the average American male.
The data is a little old, but apparently, the median number (ie. eliminating those who read voraciously) of books read for the typical American is a measly five.
I think that is a total disgrace. Reading is one of the most affordable ways to improve your life. Think about it.
First, there are books available on just about any subject you could be interested in. Rule 34. For any conceivable interest you can up come with, there is a book about. Allow me to demonstrate. Here is a book for the Corkscrew Collectors out there
Second, they are cheap. Most books cost less than $15 dollars. Authors take months, and in most cases, years to research and write a book. Even if you only paid someone $1 per hour, you couldn’t get has much bang for your buck.
Third, it only takes one idea, well implemented, to change your life. Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich cost less than $10 bucks. Most banks charge $25-30 for over-drafting your account. I don’t even really like the guy, but if you follow his system, you’ll avoid your next overdraft fee, and the book pays for itself.
Tony Robbins’ Awaken The Giant Within cost less than $15 bucks. The chapter on the 10 Emotions of Power will save you literally thousands of hours lost productivity by helping you understand and act upon your feelings.
Rework by the Founders of 37 Signals costs $20 bucks for the hardcover. But you’ll save literally $1000’s of dollars and hours of your life, when you read their section on the true cost of a meeting.
I could literally go on all day naming books. But I think I’ve made my point.
Reading is one of the most affordable ways to change your life.
So here is the habit I use to read more than 20 books a year.
- Give yourself a reading stipend. I bought myself a $250 dollar Amazon Gift Card. Whenever I saw a book that interested me, I just bought.
- Pick a book that’s relevant to current issues / problems. You’ll be more interested in reading, cause it’s going to help you deal with something immediately.
- Skim, skim, skim, and read when necessary. Most non-fiction books have a table of contents. Scan it. Find the chapters that interest you, skim them, and read the sections where you want to learn more. This will drastically increase your speed. Which brings me to the next point.
- Don’t pressure yourself to remember everything! It’s not a test. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the information. Then if you face a particular challenge, you can always re-open the book. You don’t have to memorize every word.
- Set a daily goal. I read for 30 minutes a day. Others prefer to set a goal based on the number of pages. Do whatever works for you. Just make sure you do it. Even if it’s ridiculous, like 1 minute or 1 page a day, set the goal. More often than not, you’ll get interested and continue reading.
- Do it first thing in the morning or just before bed. There are too many distractions throughout the day. Just get up and do it.
I hope his helps. Please let me know in the comments if you have / need any book recommendations!
P.S. Did you notice those earning higher incomes ($50K+) read significantly more than those earning lower incomes ($49K or less). I wonder why.