How to Read More Books: Three Tips to Maximize Learning

by @deanyeong | Get free weekly updates here

I fell in love with reading at the age of 15. I read with the purpose of improving myself outside of regular academic subjects. I bought plenty of books ranging from self-help, fitness, finance to management and marketing.

As a student, I had all the spare time I needed to read as much as I wanted to. I finished over 50+ books during my high school years. Building a habit of reading isn’t that hard right?

Until I started to work, I stopped reading entirely.

I still told my peers that I read a lot because it made me look knowledgeable and cool. But the truth is that I only read ONE book in four years.

At the end of 2015, I decided to pick up reading as a habit again. I decided to stop telling others that I loved reading and started doing it for real.

Now, I have completed over 30+ books. That’s averaging two to three books a month. In this article, I’m going to show you how I did it and give you a few tips that help you do the same:

A Simple System to Read More

There are countless tips, tricks, and hacks on how to read more and read fast. I often think some of them are confusing and defeat the core purpose of reading in the first place.

I’m not a fan of speed reading. Instead, I follow a system that helps me read more. It’s stupidly simple and comes with only three parts.

SET A READING SCHEDULE

Many people like to start reading more, and maybe you’re one of them. However, simply telling yourself to read more doesn’t help at all.

You need to take it a step further to allocate a specific schedule for reading. If reading doesn’t appear on your daily schedule, most probably, it never will.

Grab a piece of paper, write down where and when you’re going to read. Then, add the schedule to your calendar.

For me, reading is one of the first few things to complete in a day before starting work. Because 1) I’m the most productive in the morning and 2) it’s the time when my willpower is at its peak to do things that matter the most.

There are times I can’t make it in the morning. I will then do it at night before going to bed. Or I will just skip for a day and do it the next day.

Never beat yourself up when you can’t stick to the schedule. There are always days when we’re fully booked or overly exhausted. Just promise yourself to get back on track the next day.

READ 20 PAGES A DAY, EVERY DAY

After I setup my reading schedule, I define my routine. My reading time starts roughly at 9:30 am every morning, and I will read about 20 pages every day.

Defining how much you’re going to read is going to help you to have a clearer picture of the action (reading) plan itself. When you know when to stop, you are going to find it easier to start.

20 pages are a rough guideline for me because it isn’t too short to make me feel like I’m not reading at all, nor too long to take a big chunk of my time. I took about 35 minutes to complete 20 pages of reading.

Of course, I’m not reading exactly 20 pages most of the time. Sometimes I did 15 pages, and sometimes I did 30 pages. It depends on the content and my schedule on that particular day.

The key is that, at least, you start. With 20 pages a day, you can easily finish a decent-sized book in 10 to 15 days. Now you see, 20 pages a day makes up a significant volume in a month or a year.

You can pick any number of pages that is comfortable for you. If you’re new to reading (making reading as a habit), start small. The purpose here is to reduce your inner resistance to reading.

BUILD A READING QUEUE

To maintain your reading consistency, you need to avoid running out of reading material. I know you won’t if you have already been a reader for some time. But people who are new to reading may not have a solid source from which to add more books to their reading queue.

In fact, there are more books available today compared to a few decades ago because of the rise in self-publishing. We simply don’t have time to read every single book.

It became more and more challenging to make sure you’re picking up a good book that doesn’t waste your time. That’s why building a reading queue is important.

Here are three ways I’m using to curate my reading queue:

  • Follow an author. If you read a book by an author and you love it, you will probably love other books by the same author too. I enjoy books by Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin, so I’m tracking down every single book they have ever written.
  • Get recommendations from other readers. I have a group of friends who read avidly, and I always ask them to suggest books that are worth checking out. If no one around you is reading, you can still see what your favorite writers or bloggers are reading. Even better, take advantage of your need to find more books while at the same time, making new friends in your community. Look for a reading club that meets nearby or at your local library.
  • Read book reviews or summaries. I’m curating a list of book summaries here on my site, and there are plenty on the Internet.  My favorite method is to listen to a book via a book summary app – Blinkist (affiliate link) before I decide if I want to read the full book.

Reading Notes of the Best Books

I hope my three quick tips help. Give them a try. I believe you have already known the benefit of reading, and understand why you want to read more.

As you can see, I don’t use any speed-reading techniques or hacks to read more. What really matters here is consistency. By the way, I do enjoy reading slowly and digesting a book word by word.

If you’re rushing it, you’re doing it wrong.

On top of that, I compound every single book I read into a bulleted format summary. I started doing this at the beginning of 2016. (The list doesn’t include any book I read before that unless I re-read them).

If you’re interested, check them out here.

One more thing: Stop reading if a book sucks, you don’t need to complete it. Read the next book instead.

Dean Yeong

Writer. Reader. Lifting weights & drinking coffee.