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Books are good for your brain. These techniques will help you read more.

Why you should embrace books

Reading is essential for a healthy brain. Reading continues to develop the brains of adults and might help slow down or even stop cognitive decline.

Regular readers show more empathy for other people.

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Books are good for your brain. These techniques will help you read more.

Books are good for your brain. These techniques will help you read more.

https://www.popsci.com/read-more-books/

popsci.com

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Key Ideas

Why you should embrace books

Reading is essential for a healthy brain. Reading continues to develop the brains of adults and might help slow down or even stop cognitive decline.

Regular readers show more empathy for other people.

How to fit in more reading

We often struggle to find time to read. That's why we need to start small.

  • Read five pages of a book that interests you every day. When you are comfortable with five pages, try ten, then twenty.
  • The book should interest you. Reading a book of your choice makes the activity a pleasure to look forward to.
  • It helps to keep the book, audiobook app, or e-reader on you. Then, when you have some downtime, you can read instead of playing a smartphone game.

Audiobooks

Research found that audiobooks stimulate the brain differently but just as deeply as reading.

With print books, you need to provide the voice, imagine the tune and rhythm of speech, the intonation, stress of syllables, and so on. All this gets provided for you when listening to audio. With audiobooks, you're using different methods to decode and understand it. But it still deeply impacts your thoughts and feelings.

Apply your new habit

A reading habit can help you in numerous ways.

  • Browsing through a book can calm you as part of the daily bedtime routine.
  • It will also replace bad habits like looking at your phone before bed.
  • Audiobooks can help you get fit. A study found those who listen to a great audiobook at the gym are more prone to exercise regularly.
  • Reading can improve your focus and short-term memory.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

A habit of compounding growth

Reading is a habit of compounding growth. When reading, you'll learn more, and you'll generate ideas and motivation for making other changes.

Reading books means you're getting more concentra...

Put the book down

The real cause of reading too few books is that you don't enjoy it enough.

Don't feel compelled to finish a book that has become boring, predictable or unhelpful. Start a new one. You can have many books through various states of completion. Some won't be finished, and that's okay. Reading less is worse than having a few go unfinished.

Build an online library

An obstacle to your reading habit is not having enough interesting books waiting to be read.

Create a list of potentially good books. If you have a Kindle or eReader, get samples of any book you might want to read — Source your wishlist from suggestions from other writers and authors. When someone recommends a book on a blog or tweet, add it to your wishlist.

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Strategies speed readers use
Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines...
Effectiveness of Speed Reading

Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Make the most of what you read
  1. Choose different reading pieces for different occasions: articles and light reads can be reserved for short periods. Books that require less focus can be listened to in audio format etc.
  2. Incorporate reading into your daily habit: put a book on your bedside table.
  3. Share your reads with others, to help you to better understand and appreciate what you read.
  4. Reflect on your reading: take notes or check out films that are based on novels (to compare interpretations).
Tsundoku
Tsundoku

Many of us have a desire to read. We buy books, but then the demands of work and family catch up with us, and we never get round to reading the books. The Japanese calls it tsundoku

Finding the time for books

To give books the attention and time it deserves in your life, you need to make it a higher priority. It means you have to change your habits and routines to allow more reading.

Sometimes, your reading needs only a little encouragement to displace something that should be lower down on your list. For example, to forgo watching television and reading a book instead.

The reading habit: Succeeding long-term
  • First consider why you want to read more books. Reading should be enjoyable for you because you find them entertaining, calming, stimulating, and fascinating. Once the habit is set, you can also read other things you "should" read.
  • Change your surroundings to make it easier for you to grab a book. Reading apps can be prominent on your phone. Physical books should be in places that you most often frequent.
  • Create modest reading goals. Permit yourself to start with reading one page a day. Once the habit is established, you can increase it.
  • Once you have laid the foundation for your new reading habit, create an action association, such as reading on the train to work or with your mid-morning coffee or dinner.

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The Difference Between Reading Listening To A Book

There is no real difference between listening to a book and reading as the mental processes involved are the same. Studies show that listeners and readers retain about equal understan...

“A 985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students...

“A 985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students who listened to a short story were able to summarize it with equal accuracy as those who read it.”

Olga Khazan

The Processes Of The Brain While Reading

Simplifying, two basic processes happen when you read: There is decoding, or translating the strings of letters into words with meaning. And then there is language processing, or comprehension.

Decoding is specific to reading but by about late elementary school, decoding becomes so second-nature that it isn’t any additional “work” for your brain. It happens automatically.

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Read to someone

One of the biggest obstacles to reading books we enjoy is that we think we should read books even if we don’t enjoy them—specifically, the idea that if we start a book, we must fi...

The To-Go Box Method

For a weight-loss hack, it goes like this: As soon as you order a meal at a restaurant, ask immediately that half of it be put in a to-go box once it’s ready and only the other half served to you. It’s basically a stricter version of portion control.

We can apply the same technique to get ourselves to read more.

Instead of 2 hours of Netflix each night, cutting it in half would still give you the satisfaction of watching Netflix in the evenings but also free up time to read as well.

Book Summaries

Preview the book in order to vet whether or not it’s worth investing your time in.

  • Use book summaries. Find apps that give accurate and concise summaries of many of the most popular books out there and are constantly updating their library.
  • Use podcast interviews with the author. Authors often go on the podcast circuit to promote their books. 

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The Essence

It’s important to have a deep willingness to read and grow in the process. Approach reading as a fun, enjoya...

Determine Your Reading Goal

Start off by setting a goal. This goal should be articulate and backed up with a purpose.

For some, it could be a goal of reading 24 books in a year. Once you’re done placing a target figure to your reading goal, then divide them into smaller goals.

Make a List of Books for Each Month

Write out a list of the amazing books you want to read. Ask for recommendations from friends and mentors. 

By being intentional about your reading list, you’ll stay focused on your ultimate goals and avoid lurking at any book that passes you by. 

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Warren Buffett
“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can..."
Warren Buffett
Learning constantly

To get better results in life you need to learn constantly. And the best way to learn is to read effectively and a lot.

Upgrading your brain

A new idea, outlook on life, mental model, is all it takes for something to click inside your brain.

Your brain will start making connections between books that seemed to be on different topics. The more you read, the more links you form and the richer your understanding becomes.

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A Case For Audiobooks

Old school printed books and e-books sales remain flat in the last five years, while Audiobook sales have shown an increase.

Such figures show that people are shifting towards audio formats o...

Decoding the Written Word

Audiobooks allow the listeners to get the meaning without the use of their eyes, which books require.

Reading as a skill is 'skipped' while listening to audiobooks, though it is ideal for people with dyslexia, those who cannot 'decode' the written word.

Reading Vs Listening

The reading act, which requires focus, and which makes us stop, think and re-read is somehow only confined to books, as a study proves that retention is higher with books than with podcasts.

The audio format also misses some key visual aspects of fonts paragraphs and headings, that are available in books.

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Building Up Knowledge
Building Up Knowledge

Warren Buffet, the highly successful investor, businessman and philanthropist says reading at least 500 pages a day is essential, as it builds up knowledge like compound interest.

Reading is ...

Reading In Isolation

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and a well-known philanthropist, also appreciates the power of reading, and how it can get you out of your head, seeing the world through another person's eyes.

He goes in isolation for a whole week, twice a year, with no stress, no interruptions, no other tasks to be done, and just reads, learning and focusing on innovation.

Reading For a Better Future

Elon Musk, the celebrated CEO of Tesla and Space X, is a fountainhead of innovations. He admits to reading 10 hours a day as a child, leading to a mind that is loaded with ideas and innovations.

Reading provides us with insights, perspectives, and ideas, nurturing our sense of curiosity, wonder and asking well-informed questions. Success comes easily due to a better understanding of the world around us.

Unfinished Books

Due to unlimited distractions, shorter attention spans and increased boredom, we aren't finishing the books we start to read. Our impulsive and fickle nature is also to blame.

Add Some Variety

The mind needs variety and diverse types of stimuli at different times. Reading several books at once, of different genres is a smart way to be able to cater to the mind's different needs at different times. It is also a good idea to not have more than a few books in your current reading list. The recommended number is 3.

Let Go Of Certain Books

If reading a certain book is beginning to feel like a burden to you, you are free to let go. The reason can be any, but it is no use wasting your time in a book that isn't speaking to you.

Letting go of a book provides closure and unburdens your mind.

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