I see advertisements on YouTube where it claims that a successful (and Rich) person or a CEO of the successful company reads an average of 52 books/year. That is almost a book a week. I sometimes wonder if they are running a business or participating in a book reading contest.
Anyways, this reading competition isn’t uncommon amongst normal people like us. I have seen quite a few of my friends posting their reading list and claiming I finished reading this, I finished reading that. Any book I name, at least one of them have read it already. There seems to be a competition in which I am not a participant. With apps like Audible, the competition has intensified further.
By the way, when I say reading books, I do not mean a fictions or novels by Jeffrey Archer. I mean non-fiction ones.
There are three kind of readers according to me.
- A person, born with the talent to absorb the contents of the book like a sponge and squeeze it out whenever it is needed to be applied. This is only 2% of the entire world population.
- A person, who started reading slowly, improved his brain power to absorb like a sponge and can squeeze the knowledge out, most often when needed. This is about 8% of the population.
- Rest 90% are normal, not so rich and sometimes not so successful people who can read 50 books a year but can only squeeze out hardly anything at all when it is needed.
If you observe closely, the success doesn’t come from reading 50 books but from squeezing out the maximum knowledge you have gathered from reading those books and applying it to practice when it is needed. That’s what makes one successful, rich and stand out of the crowd.
So here is my advice.
- Do not complete – I know it is hard. Haven’t you picked up a 15kg dumbbell for working out your biceps because you saw a guy standing next to you with similar body structure was doing so ? If you have been to gym, you know what I am talking about. That enthusiasm wont get you very far. If you know the right way to exercise, you can do very well with just 5 kilo dumbbell.
- Makes note of intriguing points – Writing down your learnings from the book could be very helpful. First, when you write it down, you have a higher chance of remembering that and second, you have a cheat sheet to refer back to what you have learnt from a book. Don’t write everything down. Write those points which you feel it in your gut that it is of your interest.
- Be conscious to put your knowledge into practice – You just cant read a book and put the knowledge into practice. Every learning is most effective at a specific time. So being aware of the situation in hand and retrieving the right information from your brain requires practice. The more you do it, the more easy it becomes to comprehend the situation.
- Read a book twice or more – The more you read, the more it sticks to your brain. If you finish 3 books in 3 months, repeat them before picking up the next. Don’t read them consecutively. You are not trying to give a exam here.
- Explain the reading to your family – Try explaining the book to you spouse or the kid after reading. If you cannot explain the gist of the book to them in 15 mins, you haven’t been absorbing knowledge.
- Simplicity Test – Once you explain the book to your family, ask them to explain it back to you. If they have no clue of what you just said in those 15 mins, you need a second reading. You may have understood the book but you may not have understood well enough to make it simple or to use it in real-life. Your brain can retrieve information quickly when things are simple.
So in essence, read to gain knowledge and use it in your life. Reading to show-off or up the book count is just a waste of your precious time. Reading is a journey without destination.