You are currently viewing Read More Books to Expand Your Knowledge Base

Read More Books to Expand Your Knowledge Base

  • Post category:Business
  • Reading time:14 mins read

I’ve always enjoyed reading…well, for the most part. If you ask my parents, they’ll tell you otherwise. Apparently, it was a nasty battle to get me to read during the early days of my primary education years. Anyways, that’s neither here, nor there, because I flat out love to read now. In fact, I typically read a book a week on average. Naturally, some weeks are busier than others between work and this crazy thing called life, so I may not read an entire book those weeks. However, there are other weeks where I fly through two to three books without batting an eye. Don’t believe me? Check out my reading list, which is always growing. Please note that this list doesn’t include every book that I read, but rather those that I am confident others would find pleasurable.

Anyways, I’m fond of reading, to say the least. However, other people may not find the same pleasure in reading that I do. If you’re one of these people, here are 25 tips that will help you read more books than ever before!

Don’t Set Ridiculous Reading Goals

If you’re not an avid reader, don’t commit to reading more books than you can manage realistically. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Instead, set SMART goals when it comes to your reading adventures. Start off by setting an easily attainable reading goal. This can range anywhere from 30 pages per day to one book every month. If you find yourself flying through a single book each month, level up and aim for two books per month. When you don’t over-commit, you’ll find the reading experience less stressful and far more enjoyable. One thing that I’ve found is that if your reading is not stressful, you can concentrate more and read really fast…this, in turn, results in reading more books!

Read More Books - Goals

Keep Your Reading Goals Private

So you’ve set a reading goal – great! No make sure that you keep it to yourself. There’s a lot of talk about writing down your goals to make them concrete and then sharing them with peers so as to hold yourself accountable. I don’t believe in these tactics one bit when it comes to developing your reading habits. Instead, keep your reading goals to yourself. There’s isn’t a five-figure bonus for reading more than what you set out to read, nor is there a shiny trophy for reading more than Sally down the hall.

Quit Early

Odds are that you’ve likely been halfway through a book and asked yourself, “why am I reading this?” If so, don’t worry. It happens to just about everyone. Instead of trying to power through a book that you don’t enjoy or find useful, put it down and start reading something else.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book The Happiness Project found that the “winners don’t quit” mindset isn’t effective when it comes to reading. She explains that quitting early gives you “more time for reading good books!”

Read Books that You Actually Enjoy

This is an extension of the previous point. When you read books that you actually want to read, you’ll find it more difficult to put them down. For instance, I’m a huge fan of American classics such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Will reading (and re-reading) these books make me a better digital marketer. Probably not. However, I enjoy reading them and become so immersed that I simply have to keep reading.

Hold up. Who’s to say whether reading American classics helps me or not. Maybe reading these timeless novels does make me a better digital marketer. We’ll dive into this matter later.

At the same time, I also like to mix it up. I’ll read books about leadership and general business. Two authors who especially pique my interest are Simon Sinek and Daniel Pink. While these sorts of books may help me professionally, I still enjoy reading them.

Always Have a Book On-Hand

You’ll always have an opportunity to read when you least expect it. You can read on your morning commute – books on tape if you’re driving. The time you spend waiting at the doctor’s office or for a meeting or conference call to start are both prime opportunities to crack open whichever book you’re currently reading.

The only way you can make the most of these small chunks of time is if you have a book on hand. This is why I always carry a book with me. This mini lifehack is made even easier by digital devices such as Amazon’s Kindle lineup.

Borrow Reading Time from Something Less Important

I get it. The idea of reading for two or three hours each day may seem like a serious commitment. However, if you borrow time from something else – Netflix, Facebook, etc. – it’s really easy to devote more time to reading.

For instance, the average American spends roughly five hours per day glued to their TV. If you happen to fall into this category, you can easily reduce your TV time to two hours per day and spend the other three hours reading. If you opt for this route, make sure you read first and then watch your favorite shows. The other way around isn’t as effective.

Take Part in Reading Challenges to Read More Books

Reading challenges are an awesome way to read more books because it’s fun and interactive. For instance, Goodreads has an annual reading challenge that gamifies your reading goal. Goodreads can also help you discover new books to read by seeing what your friends have read. If you’re serious about partaking in a reading challenge, I highly recommend that you check out what Book Riot has to offer.

Read More Books - Challenge

Find (or Create) a Distraction-Free Reading Environment

Let’s be honest. There are certain distractions that are unavoidable, such as the Amazon delivery person dropping off the books you ordered the previous day or your dog going bananas when they see their reflection in a window. However, there are plenty of other distractions that you do have total control over.

You should start by reading in a room that is quiet and doesn’t have any temptations like a TV. You could also turn your phone on silent or airplane mode for a pre-determined period of time.

Stock Up If You’re Serious About Reading More Books

Instead of dropping a stack of cash on clothes or other meaningless junk that you really don’t need, build up a stockpile of books. It may sound silly at first, but it’s one of the best ways to motivate yourself to read more since once you finish a book, all you need to do is check out your inventory and decide what to read next.

Technology is Your Friend

Personally, I’m a huge fan of physical books. There are few things better than the smell and texture of an actual book in your hands. Furthermore, studies have found that reading print leads to better comprehension and retention compared to reading on a digital screen.

However, sometimes carrying a book around is neither easy nor convenient. Today you can read books on your iPad or Kindle when traveling. Even listening to an audiobook through Audible or iBook, or whichever platform you prefer, while working out is a great way to read more books.

In short, using technology provides you with more opportunities to digest even more books than you ever thought possible.

Change Your Mindset

Ryan Holiday, a media strategist and author, states that “the key to reading lots of books begins with stop thinking of (reading) as some activity that you do. Reading must become as natural as eating and breathing to you. It’s not something you do because you feel like it, but because it’s a reflex…a default.”

Skimming Helps You Read More Books

Skimming applies more to reading newspapers, magazines, or online content. However, it can also apply to reading for leisure. That being said, don’t be afraid to skim when you’re reading purely for pleasure. It helps you get through books faster so that you can move on to the next one.

Read Multiple Books

This may not be the best strategy for you – myself included. However, some people have several different books in different locations. These locations can include your bedroom, in the den on your iPad, and on your phone for in-between meetings. This method ensures that you always have a book at the ready.

Having an assortment of books to read at the same time is challenging. However, it keeps you from getting bored. It also helps to mix up the genre of books that you’re reading.

Read More Books - Multiple Books

Keep Your Eyes Open

I’m always on the lookout for new books. The bookstore always has suggestions and browsing bestseller lists online provides a treasure trove of new books to read. When I discover a book that looks interesting, I write it down in my notebook so that I don’t forget about it.

Commit to Reading When Traveling or Before Bed

Traveling is a great time to read. Think about all the free time you have while waiting for your flight and while you’re in the air. You may actually finish an entire book while traveling. A quick tip: make sure you download the entire book before you leave if you opt to read on a digital device. This helps conserve battery power while you’re in the air and saves you a few bucks since you’ll avoid having to pay an arm and a leg for wi-fi.

When you’re not traveling, make it a point to read before you go to bed. Use this choice as opposed to watching TV or scrolling through your social media feeds. Doing so will not only help you read more, but it will also help you sleep better.

Eliminate Decision Fatigue

Yes – decision fatigue is a very real thing. It can percent you from being productive and adopting habits like reading on a consistent basis.

Instead of aimlessly searching for thousands upon thousands of new books, search for curated lists. Industry leaders like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg offer strong reading lists. Any list helps to eliminate decision fatigue and allows you to spend more time actually reading.

Settle Down to Read More Books

When you’re preoccupied and your mind is going a mile-a-minute, it’s difficult to sit down and actually enjoy a book. We all have deadlines to meet, clients to invoice, and dishes to clean. This is why I try to knock these items off my to-do list before reading so that they don’t bother me. I’ve also found that exercising or meditating on a regular basis works wonders in terms of helping put my mind at ease.

Relax and Read More

Share What You Read

Remember how we talked about not sharing your reading goals earlier? Well, sharing what you read isn’t the same as sharing your reading goals. That being said, go right ahead and share what you’ve read. It becomes a crucial part of the entire reading process since you’re passing along the information or insights that you’ve just read. Furthermore, sharing what you read with your peers typically elicits recommendations in return. For instance, a peer may chime in and say, “well, if you liked that, then you should definitely check out this book next!”

Have Your Next Book on Stand-By

Throughout this post, we’ve touched on the importance of building an inventory of books that you plan to read in order to eliminate decision fatigue. However, you’re likely stuck with a couple dozen of books from which to choose. Whenever I’m about to finish a book, I take a few minutes to select the next book I plan to read. Doing so allows me to jump right into the next book the moment I finish the book I’m currently reading.

Set a Dedicated Reading Time to Read More Books

Setting a dedicated reading time helps establish reading as a habit. I typically set aside 20-30 minutes before I get my workout in the morning since the rest of the world is typically still asleep. This means that I can dive into my book without having to worry about any distractions. I also make it a point to set aside 20-30 minutes to read each night before I go to bed. These two snippets of my daily routine are arguably my favorite moments each day.

I also make it a point to read through the day. However, some days are way more chaotic than others, so the ability to read throughout the day isn’t always guaranteed. This is why it is essential to set time aside either at the start or end of your day to read.

Buy Books That Are On Sale

If you’re on a budget, or just flat out cheap, then check out books that are on sale. You can easily find some serious bargains on Amazon, which is a great way to grow your personal library,

You can also get your hands on free books if you know where to look. Besides visiting your public library, you can get a hold of free books by entering giveaways. You can also check Goodreads, swap books on Paperback Swap, and browse a public domain of ebooks and audiobooks on Project Gutenberg.

Read More Books - Book Sale

Join a Book Club to Read More Books

Joining a book club is a stellar way to motivate you to read more books. You’ll land top-tier recommendations and you’ll also discover a community in which you can discuss and share your thoughts. Joining a book club forces you to consider titles you never would have considered reading. Who knows, some of these dark horse reads may turn out to be some of your all-time favorites.

Hijack Your Facebook Habit

According to David Kadavy, “bad habits are hard to break. But, you can hijack your habits to turn those bad habits into good ones.” Kadavy goes on to say that “habits begin with a trigger, which then leads to an action, which then leads to a reward. Over time, you build your investment. The cycle repeats.”

In this case, you can replace your less than ideal Facebook habit and turn it into a meaningful reading habit, in the words of Kadavy try these:

1.) Reduce Friction

For this specific habit, there’s something that blocks you from enjoying books the same way you scroll through Facebook. Cracking a book open feels like a major commitment. You can talk yourself out of it if you only have a few minutes to spare. So, you need to grant yourself permission to read tiny chunks of books at a time.

2.) Hijack Your Trigger

Every time you feel your Facebook Trigger, grab a book instead of reaching for your smartphone. It’s best if it’s a physical book at first since a mobile device is too tempting. However, if you do use a smartphone, rearrange your icons so Facebook is tucked away and your reading app is prominent.

3.) Replace Your Action

All you have to do now is read the book! To get the ball rolling, pick a page in the book and start reading. Remember, you need to eliminate any friction that makes you think the book is too large of an investment.

Read in Sprints to Read More Books

There are certain days when your attention may not be at its fullest potential. When you have one of those days, set a timer for 20 minutes and then read in 20-minute sprints. This method prevents your mind from wandering and is short enough that you won’t burn out.

Reading Sprints

Take Notes, Read Aloud, or Mouth Along

This may seriously annoy others in a public setting, but these tactics can help you better understand the author’s message. Reading aloud helps to develop new conclusions, and increases everything – concentration, focus, and retention.

Whether you jot down notes in the margins, or on a Post-It Note and mouth along while on the plane, don’t be embarrassed. This is still going to improve your literacy skills, which in turn will make you a reading powerhouse.

Andrew Roche

Andrew Roche is a Digital Consultant at Shift Digital. He is also pursuing an MBA in Marketing & Finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University

Leave a Reply