I like to read. Tons of business books and tons of personal development books. All sprinkled in with some awesome sci-fi or fantasy whenever I want, just for fun.
And, no. I don’t spend 3 hours a day reading books. I work out, spend time with the family, work with app companies, have fun, etc.
Most people that read like this just power through from one book to the next, pushing out the great information they just took in. What a waste.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
You see, there is method to the madness. There is a way to read tons of books and actually learn from them without being some eccentric genius.
The first roadblock is how intimidating it is to read that much in a year.
“20 books? NOBODY got time for that!”
But when you break it down into manageable chunks, it’s totally doable.
1 chapter a day, 20 pages a day, whatever. If you keep that up, you’ll be reading a book a month just like that. Add it up: 12 books / year.
That is super manageable if you ask me.
To add in more books, the only thing you have to do is just read faster. That may sound pretty stupid, but it’s totally doable. Go look around the internet a bit and I’m sure you’ll find a few dozen solid pieces of info on how to read faster.
I don’t have any tricks though…
Luckily, the more you read, the more FOCUS you have when you read. And the more focus you have when reading, the faster you end up reading. That’s it! It’s a beautiful thing.
Ok so now you’re reading more and reading faster. Great!
But now that you’ve read all of these books, how in the hell can you remember in January what you read in July?
The key is what you do when you close the book for the last time: Write a simple 1 page summary about it.
Whenever I have a marketing problem I’m facing, no problem. I have about 10 1-pagers to refer to.
If I’m stressed-the-hell-out, easy. I’ve got about 5 1-pagers to read over to help chill me out.
Not feeling so productive? About 15 of those ready to get my ass moving again.
Ready to start a new project? I’m covered.
You see, in that brief window when you wrap up a book, it is fresh in your mind. Something about finishing something has you reflect back on it all. Just think about the season finale of Game of Thrones, or the ending credit to any movie, ever.
You close that book, and you get the highlight reel in your mind. Take advantage.
Take advantage of it and write it down! Grab your notebook of choice (I’m a weirdo and like to write in fancy Moleskin’s, or use Evernote) and write it down.
I like to use a bulleted list and run through the book, chapter by chapter writing down the key takeaways. The secret is to write down YOUR key takeaways. Not bullets from the author, not from reviews or blogs, but you personally.
This whole exercise takes me a whopping 5 minutes. And what I get when I’m done is an easy to digest 1-pager of knowledge that will help me for the rest of my life.