Why would you want to read?
So you are one of the millions of people who don’t have time to read? Would it surprise you to know that the .1% of the wealthiest people in the world have time to read while you don’t? I’m not just talking about wealth in the form of money, although that would be a usual indication. I am talking about a wealthy life of abundance. If you want a life of abundance you would be hard pressed to find someone in this category who doesn’t spend a lot of their time reading. Notice I didn’t say free time. Read on to find out why reading is important and how you can become a better reader.
Some of the most successful people on the planet carve out time to read a lot of books. Take former Microsoft CEO and founder Bill Gates. This is a man who built a billion dollar industry and has changed the culture of the world, more than a few times. I am not a Microsoft fanboy but I can appreciate a product that brought computers into the mainstream and created the underlying ecosystem we know and love today. Who knows where we would be without Microsoft Windows, Apple, and of course the internet. Once he amassed millions he decided to step down as CEO and move on to more important things in life like solving some of the world’s most difficult problems. Bill and Melinda Gates, along with their charity organization, are fighting and solving the global malaria epidemic.
One thing Bill does every year is take about 1-2 weeks off for a long awaited vacation (much like the rest of us). He spends his vacation reading as many books as he can. Yes, he takes a reading vacation. You can usually just google “Bill Gates Reading List 2016” and find his most recent list of books he has read on vacation. Why does one of the richest and most philanthropic people on the planet take a reading vacation? He is accomplishing a couple things.
- Spending some quality time with his family
- Expanding his understanding of unconnected topics
- Using the time to thing and come up with new ideas for some of the biggest problems
Sounds too good to be a real thing but it has been proven with a little science. Taking time out from all things social and otherwise, the distractions of our lives, helps us to understand better and process questions we would otherwise not normally spend too much time thinking about. It’s a process of stepping away in order to get the mental juices flowing. Let’s be honest, Bill Gates could do whatever the hell he wants to do, but he chooses to read. That is pretty impressive if you ask me.
…Something he probably learned from his mentor and business partner Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett, the tycoon owner of global industry with his portfolio consisting of things like: Coca Cola, Verisign, Costco, WalMart, Proctor and Gamble, and Verizon to name a few. Not to mention that most of these companies are just conglomerate companies which in turn own many of the smaller brands we use every day in our lives. His latest filing and portfolio inventory, found here, shows that he has somewhere around ~148 Billion dollars in holdings. That’s a lot of holdings for a couple guys from Omaha, Nebraska (Charlie Munger being his lifelong business partner). You want to know what Warren spends most of his day doing? He spends the better portion (6-8 hours) a day reading books. He is not the smartest person on the planet but he knows how to valuate a company and buy companies that make him money. He then gives that money to, among other people, Bill and Melinda Gates in order to fund massive philanthropy projects.
I am no Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, but I do read a lot of books. I don’t read so I can be the smartest person in the room. I would ALWAYS rather not be the smartest person in the room, no matter which room I find myself in. I do want to connect the dots between ideas that might not normally make sense in the same sentence. I want to figure out why psychology and physics actually make athletes better. I don’t thing there are too many things out there that are completely mutually exclusive. There is a lot of bleed over between topics. So I read in order to make the connections for myself.
So you don’t have any time? You have kids and a job? You have dinner to make? You have yards to mow? You have a pool that needs cleaning? You have a 2 hour commute back and forth to work? I have only one answer to all of that. BULLSHIT! I have had all of those same things at one point or another in my life. I am probably the busiest lazy person you will meet. I work my normal 9-5 for the Army and then I work my 5-12 (meaning midnight) on other projects. Not always something business related but most of the time a project that is pointed to something business related.
Having no time is a mindset problem, not a scheduling problem.
You have to create the time. Sometimes this is a slow process. But if you don’t start out with at least 5 quality minutes every day doing something you will truly enjoy, whether reading books or otherwise, you will never have the time you need to do anything.
We make time for the things we truely love, we make excuses for everything else
Reading tools for success:
Here are some tools I use to read a little more each day. Currently, I am up to 10 days | 10 hours | 52 mins total for audio books (not including my other audio book hacks). It didn’t happen overnight. This was literally years in the making. I made a choice. I gave myself a reason. I did what I promised myself I would do. I made sure the tertiary effects would bleed over to my kids and family. These are things you can use to get back into reading and get over the stigma we were taught in school growing up “reading is work and work sucks”. The added benefit is that people (your kids and peers) will look at your actions more than your words. If they see you reading they will also find it to be cool and start reading themselves eventually. Be that role model!
- Audible – The single best way to digest all kinds of books on audio. You can couple the power of bookmarks and highlights by linking audio books that have a companion to…
- Kindle – Since the Audible and Kindle are able to sync notes/bookmarks, I have chosen Kindle as my goto ebook source. I can also have all my highlighted notes listed out on one page for my (see a snip of mine here). Amazing! or Amazoning! However you want to say it. (You can see my most loved ebooks here or click on the books link in the menu)
- iBooks – Only for the Apple at heart. Not everyone loves Apple (most don’t even LIKE Apple). We can agree to disagree. I will say you can put any format of book in this neat little app and it will digest and show it to you. Bologna sammich? iBooks don’t care (its kind of like the Honey Badger) <-funniest damn video ever! There is one little feature that, as far as I know, only exists on the iDevices. You will have to come back and search for “iBooks Hack” here on my blog to get this little golden nugget. Sorry. (not sorry)
- Overdrive – Here is a one stop shop you can connect to your local library (or if your’re smart the biggest library you can find across the country that will give you a library card). You can search in this app (also available through the web) and find the library you like. Add the library. You now will have access to any / all digital media that library has to offer, for free.
- Stitcher/Podcast/Google Podcast/Soundcloud – PODCASTS. Not books. Same nutritional content as books? Yes indeed. There are so many topics and ways to get some of the best up-to-date information, to overlook podcasts as a resource would not be a smart move. They are also usually more engaging than books. If you need a good starting point as a gateway drug, podcasts are that gateway drug.
There are tons more resources out there for digital books, but this is a good starting point. Reading is not only important to digesters of books but authors as well. As a shameless plug, my brother is getting ready to launch his latest foray about the turmoils of writing and getting past those roadblocks. Here is a relevant quote from his book “Finish The Damn Book”:
If you don’t think that reading is crucial to your success as a writer, believe me, I know where you are coming from. But at the same time, you are asking other people to read your work, why aren’t you reading too? writefarmlive.com @spottedgeckgo @writefarmlive
Exclusive “reading” content hot off the press!
If you are interested in checking his book out (aspire to be a writer) then check out this first chapter. I call it the intro. Like I said above, I read a shitload of books… This is one of the best-formulated intros I have heard. I don’t say that lightly. I especially don’t say it because he is my brother. I would much rather pick it apart and criticize (as an older sibling should right?).
Enjoy and don’t forget to spam me with your comments! I love comment spam! 🙂 Have a wonderful day!
Also published on Medium.