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How to read more books | Psyche Guides

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.

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How to read more books | Psyche Guides

How to read more books | Psyche Guides

https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-make-a-daily-habit-of-reading-more-books

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Key Ideas

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.

A US survey found that more than one-third of adults report a desire to read more books. If you're one of these people, even though you love books, reading them is the least important thing in your life. You may do it at the end of the day, or perhaps when you're on holiday.

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.

Grow your reading habit

  • Once you've created a habit, you may wonder how long it will take before it gets easier. On average, it takes about two weeks to see a noticeable difference.
  • Increasing your reading means decreasing other activities. You could look at this upfront and eliminate unwanted habits. But once you build your new book-reading habit, unimportant things will naturally fall away.
  • Your social environment is important for a reading habit. Seek out friends who read, or join a physical or virtual book group, to ensure that reading is not only a private activity.
  • Cultivate your sense of self and identity as a reader. The love of books is often central to who avid readers are.
  • Think about the kind of person you want to be and how reading more books will fulfill that aim. It might also help to write it down as it provides a frame for the actions you choose.

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Why you should embrace books

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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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Reframing excuses we make for not reading:
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  • Money: Reading is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
  • Purpose: Whate...
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The purpose of reading is not just raw knowledge. Reading is part of the human experience. It helps you find meaning, understand yourself, and make your life better.  
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If you want to read more, there’s no real secret. It’s about adjusting your priorities and your perception so that reading becomes an extension of who you are and what you do.
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Building habits to change behavior the right way can be a wonderful tool to improve your life. But false notions about what habits are and what they can do can ...
Habits are a type of learning

They generate an impulse to do a behavior with little or no conscious thought.

By forming a habit, the brain frees the mind to do other things without deliberation. So behaviors that require concentration, deliberation, or extended effort, are not habits.

What drives motivation

Motivation is not driven by pleasure and pain, but rather by the desire to escape discomfort.

Our brains get our bodies to do what they want through discomfort. And the same rule applies to psychological discomfort. 

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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).
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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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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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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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The sirens of Titan

Kurt Vonnegut, well-known for his black comedy, debates over existential questions in regards to free will, destiny, and the meaning of life. 

 This is exactly the kind of lecture one needs in order to get his mind off what is happening around.

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