I read a lot.
My Goodreads page usually has me reading around 50-100 books a year, which comes out to a book or more a week. I come from a family of readers and was taught the pleasures of reading at a young age. Many people don’t really get that opportunity and their experience with reading comes from school assignments, which are hardly a way to make someone love the written word.
But reading is good for you. It exposes you to new ideas, it gives you a chance to appreciate the beauty of a well-written sentence, it teaches you patience and increases your attention span.
There is an article on QZ.com about how to read 200 books a year. In it, the author quotes billionaire Warren Buffet about his reading habits.
Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will…
This is dumb. I read very fast and very often, but 500 pages basically means reading a book a day. Even at a quick pace reading unchallenging books, that would take at least a couple of hours of dedicated and focused reading. If I were a billionaire with all the time in the world and no other interests then I could do that too, but it’s not practical advice for anyone starting out.
So my rule is very simple: read at least 50 pages a day.
50 pages is a lot easier than it sounds. I usually knock it out in a half hour or so, it’s a reasonable rate of progression into a book, and I’m usually engaged enough in whatever I’m reading to keep going.
I do have one advantage over many people, which is that I commute by subway. It gives me plenty of time to get my reading done, but I keep my habits through the weekend. In those times I get my reading done first thing in the morning, often while still in bed. Practice becomes habit and it eventually became a natural part of my life.
Now one of the things that I find that trips up readers is this desire to finish everything they start. While it is good thing to read challenging books, there are a lot of books that you’re not going to connect with and A LOT of books that are just objectively bad. I have a personal rule where if a book doesn’t grab me within 50 pages then I put it down without it weighing on my conscience.
There are a lot of easier things I like to do. I play a lot of video games, I consume YouTube videos by the dozen, and I spend quite a lot of time on social media. I genuinely enjoy these things, but they’re not satisfying or stimulating in the same way. Reading sharpens my mind and brings a lot of meaning to my life. Integrate it into your life and you’ll enjoy it.