"In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time – none, zero."
Billionaire Charlie Munger, longtime partner of Warren Buffet, is known for his daily reading habit.
In fact, both Munger and Buffer are known for reading something like 8 hours a day.
Here are other billionaires and their reading habits;
- Elon Musk grew up on books, reading something like 10 hours a day when in grade school.
- Warren Buffett reads for 5-6 hours a day, a combination of newspapers, books and corporate reports.
- Bill Gates reads over 50 books a year.
- Mark Zuckerberg aims to finish one book every 2 weeks.
- Mark Cuban reads three or more hours a day..
You get the point: reading matters.
But reading is like any other skill: you have to get good at it, and it doesn't happen overnight. To that end, I'll give you strategies for reading more you can use to develop a lifelong reading habit give you some tips for reading more that'll help you develop the habit.
First, we have to set one thing straight. You should quit books if you need to.
There is no better waste of time than sticking with a book that you aren't enjoying and getting anything out of. So make sure you quit books freely. Maybe you will come back to it later when the subject matter is more germane to your life, but don't force yourself to sit through a book just because you bought it or someone recommended it.
Now let's cover some ways to read more books so you can develop the habit that Charlie Munger used to become a billionaire.
Here are the two audiobook services I recommend: Audible and Scribd.com.
I always check Scribd.com first because it offers unlimited reading for one monthly price. So if a book is there, I don't have to buy it on Audible.
Now that you have a place to find quality audiobooks, you need to develop a habit around reading/listening to books. Think of your audiobook habit separate from your reading habit. Here are some ways to establish an audiobook habit:
- While you are driving
- Working out
- Take a 30 min walking reading session
- In the shower, if you have a good enough speaker
- When cleaning or doing the dishes or cooking
Find opportunities to go hands-free with a pair of headphones and read while you are doing something else.
Sometimes your attention will wane, so you have to make sure you don't tune out the book.
There is still benefit to doing this even if your attention isn't 100%, so don't fall into that fallacy of thinking that they aren't getting anything out of a book because you aren't fully engaged. You could consider reading the same book multiple times if you weren't fully absorbed in it the first time. Your subconscious is still doing work.
2. Read physical books and digital books
I prefer the Kindle for physical reading.
Physical books are too hard to keep open and hard to read in various positions, like lying in bed or walking on a treadmill. Kindle can be held in one hand and is easy to take anywhere. I read while walking on the treadmill, when taking a bath, in bed, and sometimes on the ground with my feet up on a chair or couch (it's for my back).
The best strategy for physical reading is to build a routine around it. I like to read a bit in the morning, and I always read before bed (fiction at night).
If you struggle with sleep, turn off your services and turn on an orange glow bulb or use a candle (no LEDS or lights with blue), and read your Kindle. This is a sure-fire way to fall asleep.
3. Get good at skimming and/or speed reading
Both are skills. In most cases, speed reading is skimming, just with a strategy.
Most books and articles follow similar style structures. They start with some fluff in the introduction, maybe some personal backstory or other things that may or may not be interesting and then finally get into something useful in chapter one.
The more you read, the more you'll be able to scan content to recognize these patterns. From there, you can skim without missing too much. This is similar to the quitting books advice: you shouldn't feel guilty about skimming as if reading a book is only reading every word linearly. I struggle with this myself. The idea of skimming feels like I'm cheating the book, but that's just a mental bias.
4. Bounce around
This is another one I struggle with: the idea of turning to a middle chapter and reading there sounds absurd. I know some people like to do this. I think there is probably benefit here, but I've yet to do it myself.
It may work for you.
5. Read multiple books at once
There is nothing wrong with having multiple books going. Just make sure you go back and finish them. Having a few going at a time would be ideal so you don't forget about any.
Resist the desire to do one at a time. This is a sticking point for many would-be readers: they get stuck on one book, and if that book isn't striking their fancy, they slowly fall out of the habit. Instead, they should open a new book at the same time (or quit the book completely) and keep the reading spark alive.
Reading is paramount to success
If you want to think like Charlie Munger or any of the billionaires mentioned above, reading must become integral to your life.
The world we live in today is information-rich. Your leg up, your competitive edge, is always rooted in your knowledge and on how you think. And books are the epicenter to knowledge.
Books are the perfect tool for leveling up your thinking, killing negative thought patterns, and learning from other's mistakes. This is why reading is one of the most impactful activities you can do.
Start today. Build a reading habit.