1. Use a hardcopy book
  • When you read physical pages there are no distractions, which e-reading and audiobooks inherently invite.
  • The brain retains information better when it’s associated with tactile experience.

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A Guide to Developing a Deep Reading Habit

forge.medium.com

2. Have no digital devices in the room

Even if your phone is facedown on silent, or your laptop is closed and asleep, the mere sight of these devices and everything they represent — not to mention the willpower it takes not to check them — is a huge distraction. Keep them in a separate room.

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3. Read with a pen or highlighter

There is a big difference between passive reading (being read to) and active reading (being in conversation with). The latter promotes further absorption in the material and more associative thinking and subsequent creative insight.

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4. Keep a notebook nearby

Random thoughts will pop into your mind: emails to write, groceries to get, conversations to have, ideas for your next big project, etc.

Jot these thoughts down so you do not lose them but can offload your brain from trying to hang on to them. Then, get back to the book.

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5. Read for at least 30 minutes

It takes time to get into a groove.

It’s similar to exercise. There is nothing wrong with doing 10 push-ups here and there (actually, it’s great) but that’s not the same thing as a focused and deliberate workout.

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6. Think of deep reading as a muscle: You’ve got to train it

The ability to pay full attention and get absorbed in a book is built over time. It may be hard at first (especially if you are rusty), but it gets easier. Eventually, it becomes enjoyable. Be patient and stick to it. It’s worth it.

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7. Read as much as you can

Books are the best bargain there is. There is no better place to get a rich distillation of insights and wisdom.

From Bill Gates to Barack Obama to Oprah Winfrey to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the individuals whom people tend to deem wise and discerning all read a heck of a lot.

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