“You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet.” - Charlie Tremendous Jones I do not like to read. I find it difficult to quiet my mind long enough to give a page my complete attention. I read slow, and I sometimes have to read a paragraph a few times before I move on. Can you relate?
Still, on average I read approximately a book a month. I have done this for almost 10 years now. If you want to increase your ability to communicate, your intake must exceed your output. However, there are people out there who set the bar really high IMO, like reading 50-100 books in a year. Kudos to their reading prowess, but I find that many people see that as intimidating and thus, decide reading just isn’t for them. Then again, reading that many books in a year would be great if one could recall the information gained through such an endeavor. Here is what I do - take it or leave it.
I find a book I want to read and I dive in, usually as a free sample on my Kindle. It can be recently published or 100 years old. The point is, I have not read it before. If I think I am going to like it and it will be the kind of book I will want to mark up, then order the book via amazon. If it is a book I will read for enjoyment, then I get the Kindle version. I read it as slow or as fast as I need to. If it takes me two months to complete, that is okay. The number of books read is not the point; it’s the material on the pages that is important to digest. I mark up my copy with a red pen and use post-it notes to record thoughts. When I am done, I write a short summary of the book on a 5x7 card and put the book on my shelf. Also, because I write in my books, I don’t loan or borrow them.
My next book is one I have previously read -- maybe five or six years ago. My favorite part of re-reading a book is that I get to see the notes I wrote the last time I read it. I find it fascinating to see how I have evolved since last reading that book. I am different since I last saw those pages and I always see something the second or third time reading it that I missed during previous read-throughs.
I repeat this process every month. That means every year, I have six or seven new books on my shelves and have revisited just as many previously read books. Some years I read more, some years less, but it's the habit that keeps me growing. I don’t like the process (reading) but I love the result (new and evolved thoughts).
A tip: You do not have to finish a book. If the book is bad, then stop reading it. You owe the author nothing and who has time to waste these days? If you see no value in continuing, then do yourself a favor and stop reading it. Perhaps it is not for you right now, but might be later in life.
Here is a list of books I have read recently or plan on reading in the next few months. I mostly read fiction, non-fiction, and biographies in no particular order.
List of books I have read recently or will read for the first time:
- Legacy, James Kerr
- Forces of Character: Conversations About Building A Life Of Impact, Chad Hennings
- Deep Work, Cal Newport
- GRIT, Angela Duckworth
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
List of books previously read books I will or already have reread this year:
- Pushing to the Front, Orison Swett Marden
- Way of the Champion, Dr. Jerry Lynch
- Teaching to Change Lives, Dr. Howard Hendricks
- 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell
- Training Camp, Jon Gordon
- The Pleasure of My Company, Steve Martin
What book or books are on your summer reading list?