How I read books, now

February 25, 2020

tl;dr life is too short to read every book out there. That's why you have to make some sacrifices. Now I'm putting books away consistently, that are not giving you any added value.

My hate/love story with books

In the past few years, something beautiful has happened. I really fell in love with reading! The funny thing here is: I've never been much of a reader. During school and the start of college, I've actually hated reading. It did just not work for me. Well, okay, maybe I wasn't also that interested in books. But somehow that magically changed. After school time, I rarely picked up a book. Someday, I got Stephen King's ES as a present, and I devoured that book like nothing! I was totally hooked and read some more Stephen King books (btw. I'm still a huge fan). So somehow, I've gained some momentum and read more and more. Still, actually, there was not a specific routine or even habit... But all that has changed!

Building a routine

In 2018 I decided to commit to the #100DaysOfReading challenge, where I've tried to read at least one hour per day. After those 3 and a half-ish months, my approach to reading has totally changed! Today, reading is a fundamental part of my daily routine. Especially at the start and at the end of the day. I also made a significant shift toward nonfiction books. And there is so much to learn. The amount of high-quality books out there is fantastic! And sometimes, I cannot even decide on what to read. You know it.. the to-read list gets longer and longer.

Quality consumption

Okay, routine? Check! I'm now trying to read at least one book per month, which actually is very little. In the past few months, especially I had the feeling that I'm wasting time on books that I don't actually enjoy or where I don't get the sense that I learn something new. I really wanted to change that! Luckily, I've stumbled upon one of those fascinating Tim Ferris Podcast episodes with Ryan Holiday. I've learned so much from this conversation, especially about reading books and the fact that it is impossible to read everything. You really need to focus on the things and books that matter for you and where you will get the most out of it. So, here is my new approach to reading books.

My new reading approach

If there is a book that really interests me, I'm taking a deep dive into Amazon reviews. But not the 1 or 5-star reviews, instead I'm focusing on the 3-4 star reviews because they tend to build a good average! An important lesson here right away: Don't fear spoilers! Usually, I really don't want to get spoiled before holding a book in my hands, but somehow I've realized that spoilers are no bad things in nonfiction books. It's actually even a good thing because you tend to deal with the subject more in detail. Long story short: After reading some reviews, I look up the most highlighted and shared quotes on Goodreads. This is a critical part... If you find yourself in the quotes or get the feeling that you want to send them to a friend immediately after reading them, the book is probably a good one for you. So if this happens, I'm buying the book and send it over to my Kindle. I've switched my reading 100% to the Kindle because I can read more books at once and make notes and highlights more efficiently. Now what? Well, enjoy reading! But be curious here... make a check after roundabout 100 - your age pages. If the book is still exciting or you already learned something from it, continue reading it! If not, drop it. That's a bit harsh, I know, but I've learned that I really need to focus on the things I get the most from. And boring books where I don't learn something new or don't enjoy the process just allocate time that can be used for other things. Drop the fear of missing out, because realistically, you will miss something. In the post-reading process, I send all my notes to Notion, where I hold a database of all my books with ratings, favorite quotes, and a short summary in my own words. This usually helps to process the content a lot!

That's my new approach to reading books. It won't work for everyone. But just the realization that time is a valuable asset, and it's impossible to read everything changed my complete approach and attitude towards reading. Always think of it: Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.

Keep reading and, most importantly...

Keep Creating ✌️

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