Reading a hundred books in a year can make you rich in happiness, knowledge, and money.
It’s not easy at first. However, just like any other action you do consistently, it eventually becomes a habit. When reading becomes a habit, opening a book every day will be second nature.
I remember when I discovered the power of reading. A year after I graduated college, my startup had crashed and burned, and I was left lost. I turned to books. The first one I picked up was How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Unintentionally, I started my reading journey with one of the best self-development books of all time.
This book drove my thirst for reading. The next year of my life, I spent several hours every day nose deep in a book. In total, I read a hundred and twenty books that year.
The results in only one year: I went from a startup founder that had been spat out of the tech industry to managing growth at a cutting-edge software company, 22Social
, and being the founder and president of San Diego Digital Marketing Experts. Moreover, I was featured on TV as an up and coming entrepreneur and helped a Kickstarter campaign to make over $600,000.
Knowledge is power.
Warren Buffett even notes, “I just sit in my office and read all day.” He estimates that 80 percent of his working day is spent reading and thinking.
There’s no one super hack that will make you successful in a day; it’s about investing in yourself through gaining the knowledge contained in books. To make it easier, here are five tips to read a hundred books in a year and get the most of it:
1. Read every day in the morning
The biggest mistake you can make is not reading at least a couple of pages every day in the morning. The reason is you need to develop the habit; this part is crucial. Once you take several days off, it’s easier to slack off even more. Make opening a book part of your daily routine.
I woke up every morning and made a cup of coffee before I read for an hour and a half. Then after work, I made a cup of coffee and read for another hour and a half. If you set aside a particular time of day to read, then you’re more likely to reach the hundred mark.
Without a precise time, you can put off reading until it’s too late, and you’re too tired. So, keep your reading hours early and consistent, and you’re halfway there.
2. Don’t speed read
The benefits of speed reading are a myth.
Speed readers shorten how long they fixate on a word. They do this by cutting down on subvocalization
. The idea of speed reading has been around since the 1950s. This reading strategy gained momentum as people wanted to flaunt how many books they’d read, and many apps such as Spritz and Speed Reader have capitalized on the popularity, too.
The truth is that people who speed read only care about how many books they’ve read. What’s important is enjoying the act of reading and comprehending what you read.
Research has shown that when you speed read words, you don’t understand those words. Keith Rayner’s “Eye movements and information processing during reading”
gives great insight into how our eyes work when we’re reading. Rayner believes that the benefits derived from speed reading are not true because our eyes can’t work that way.
“You can practice going faster and you probably will, but when you start going too fast you’ll start losing comprehension. Most speed reading methods involve getting rid of subvocalization. Research shows that when you do that and the text is difficult, comprehension goes to piece.”
3. Don’t skip paragraphs, pages, or chapters
You’ll hear suggestions from self-proclaimed reading gurus that you should skip paragraphs, pages, and even entire chapters because it’s information you already know. Just because you read something similar or even exactly the same, it doesn’t mean that reinforcing the information is useless.
In fact, it’s vital for remembering it. According to the forgetting curve, memory retention declines fast as time passes when we don’t reinforce the information we’ve learned.
Without the benefit of retaining the knowledge you absorb, you’ll get discouraged to continue reading. So don’t take the shortcut of skipping over information.
4. Try different niches
It’s easy to get bored with reading if you stick to a single niche. For some people, it’s okay because they have an immense passion for a certain subject – e.g. enough passion for them to read a hundred books about the same topic in one year. For others, anything over thirty books covering a single niche is overkill.
Even if you read a hundred books a year for the next a hundred years, you won’t reach one percent of the amount of books published every couple of years. It can quickly feel overwhelming. But don’t get yourself riled up about not reading all the best business books available. Instead, have fun with it.
Explore topics you might be interested in and ones that your friends suggest. If you can’t find the fun in reading, then the chances are you won’t even read ten books a year.
5. Apply the concepts
It’s extremely motivating reading books and seeing the immediate benefit in your life from applying newly found knowledge. For example, if you have a big public speaking appearance coming up, then pick up a book that teaches you how to speak on stage.
When I was focused on bringing a young startup to success, I read close to forty books on creating a successful business and marketing a young company. As a result, confidence seeped into almost every business decision I made. Moreover, these business decisions were shown to be the right decisions time and again.
6. Don’t force yourself to read
If you’re not enjoying a book, then don’t push yourself through to the end. Read because you love reading- don’t read to say, “I read one hundred books this year.” If you read books to hit the hundred mark, you’ll find yourself miserable.
Even if you’re halfway through a six hundred page novel, feel free to drop it if the prose doesn’t capture your attention. The only books I regret reading are the ones I wished I had stopped soon after I started.
This is the no BS guide to reading a hundred books in a year. Are you ready for the challenge?