Warren Buffet was once giving a speech at Columbia University. An eager student raised his hand to ask for Buffet’s thoughts on the best way to succeed in business. Warren pulled out a stack of business reports and said “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee that most of you will not.”
You need books to stay on top of your game in marketing and personal effectiveness. One simple idea could be an eye-opener that will change your perspective. Oversubscribed by Daniel Priestley was my paradigm shift.
Reading has always been my passion. There is something so captivating about getting inside the author’s head. Decades of experience, research, and hard work can be yours in just a few evenings.[spacer]
Reading is important. But who has time to read?
My goal is to read two books per month. Easier said than done! It’s too tempting to put a book aside when you’re tired or not in the mood. Smartphones and other distractions provide the immediate pleasure that a book cannot.
Slowly but surely two books per month turn into one book a year. Guilt creeps in.
Trying to get back on track with my reading, I tried alternative ways to read more books. Here’s what I found.[spacer]
Audible by Amazon
Audible is Amazon’s storefront for audio books. You will find thousands of titles ready for download. As the audio book prices are almost the same as print, a monthly subscription is the best choice. You can add a new book to your library from €9 per month.
You can listen to your favourite books on any device, including smartphones and PCs. The mobile app is easy to use and has a few nifty features. Easily bookmark your favourite spots, or rewind 30-second bits if you missed something important.
I prefer reading paper books whenever possible. Having a cup of tea with a book in your hands is an experience hard to beat. Yet the ease of listening to any book on the go outweighs the little tactile pleasures.
Audible is my favourite way of reading the books I’d never found time for before.
I was mind-blown when I first found Spritz. It helps you read more books by focusing your eyes on one word at a time without having to move them. The claim is that by rapidly seeing text word by word, you can read up to 1000 words per minute. That’s a 1000-page novel in just 10 hours.
Spritz is available as a mobile app or a web reader and gives you a wow-effect. Your eyes adapt almost instantly. In just a few minutes, you can start skimming through Seth Godin’s blog at supersonic speeds.
My biggest problem was remembering what I just read. When words come in too fast, the brain can process the information, but does not store it in memory. New words popping up in the stream overwrite what you read a second ago.
I ended up feeling proud of finishing the book, but missing most of the key points. Spritz is a great way to read more books quicker, but not ideal if you want to apply the knowledge later.
Stuck in the daily grind, the team behind Blinkist asked themselves – how to read more books? The solution was so elegant, I wonder why no one came up with it before. Key insight summaries of the world’s best nonfiction you can read in 15 minutes.
The world’s most influential books are available as a 2-minute key message or a 15-minute summary. You can choose between text and audio versions of each book. The content is available in a mobile app or in your browser.
I had two major problems with Blinkist. Firstly, the database only has 1000 books in it. Measly number, compared to Audible. While you will have no problem finding classics like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the newer or more niche books are nowhere to be found. The database grows by 40 books a month, but you are still limited by what’s in stock.
Secondly, the premium version with access to all books is €80 per year as a one-off payment. With the limited selection in mind, I would rather have a monthly subscription that I can cancel at any time.
In the end, if you only want the key learnings from the top authors, Blinkist can change your life. Great ideas and insights will never slip away again. But if you are like me and prefer to immerse yourself in a book, Audible is your best bet.
How to read more books
My strategy is enjoying paper books in my free time and listening to Audible books on my daily commute. Instead of 2 books a month I can now finish 3 or 4, without compromising on quality. More importantly, I no longer feel guilty about reading too little.
It’s up to you to find the answer to how to read more books. Just remember that paper books are no longer your only option.