How I read so many books

This is the list of books I’m reading right now:

  • Endless Referrals by Bob Burg
  • The Lost Art of Finding Our Way by John Edward Huth
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
  • Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman
  • The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer
  • Abundance by Peter Diamandis
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

It might seem silly that I’m reading so many books at once. It probably is in fact silly that I’m reading quite so many books, but I do have kind of a system which I think makes sense. This system has allowed me to read as many as 30 or more books a year. 30 books a year isn’t savant-level or anything but it’s a lot more than most people read.

My system is something I guess I’ll call my Reading Station System. My “stations” include:

  • Next to my bed
  • Living room
  • The kids’ room
  • The car
  • “On the go”, meaning I keep a book with me at all times

I’ll explain the last first. Lately I’ve been keeping my stuff in a backpack in which I keep my laptop, a folder with a notepad and pen, headphones, and a book. Whenever I meet someone for lunch I bring my book into the restaurant and read it while I wait for the other person. At doctors’ appointments, at the post office, and other places where I expect to wait, I bring a book so rather than being bored I can use that time to educate myself. Most people just sit there and let that time be wasted. There’s no good reason for that.

The car is a pretty simple one. I listen to books on Audible. I usually alternate between books and podcasts. When I run out of podcast episodes that really speak to what I’m thinking about at the time, I’ll switch over to my audiobooks. I sometimes alternate between two audiobooks if I’m trudging through something long and dry (like the 45-hour A History of Western Philosophy) but I’m working on breaking that habit by selecting audiobooks that are short and interesting, and saving the dry stuff for print.

Putting the kids to bed at night is my job. We usually read one or two short picture books and then turn out the lights switch to a children’s novel on the Kindle which can be lit up. Right now we’re reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. We just finished The Call of the Wild and before that we read Where the Red Fern Grows. After the kids fall asleep I switch to a book of my own. Right now the Kindle book I’m reading is the monstrous The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (920 pages on paperback).

The book I keep next to my bed is The Lost Art of Finding Our Way, which is a book about primitive navigation techniques. (I’m bad with directions and I’m trying to fix that.) I try not to read anything too technical or work-oriented before bed because I don’t want to get the wheels spinning before I try to fall asleep.

The book I keep in the living room right now is Endless Referrals. I usually have a higher ratio of business books to non-business books but for a couple reasons I have it flipped right now. Fiction is always a small slice of the pie.

I’m a slow reader but by “filling in the cracks” of my life with reading I’ve found that I can read up to about four books a month.

One thought on “How I read so many books

  1. Pingback: Entrepreneurship Journal, 12/13/2015 | Jason Swett

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