Love to Lift – Love to Read
The best thing to happen to books was the introduction of the e-reader and I never go anywhere without my Kindle. I’m not restricted to how many books I can carry and I can annotate, note take and export/share my quotes with other readers.
I cycle through anywhere between 3-5 books at a time, reading a chapter or two from each of books from the following categories/genre:
1) Fiction – only at night before bed. I find anything with a narrative sends me off to sleep quite nicely.
2) Biography/Memoir – Learning through other people’s successes and failures.
3) Strength/Bodybuilding – Forever learning about my passion.
4) Motivation/Success/Self-Improvement – For a daily dose of inspiration and positivity.
5) Non Fiction – History, Psychology, Philosophy, Education,
How To Read
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” – Francis Bacon.
There’s reading for pleasure and reading for learning. I do both, but to get the most out of my time investment I do the following:
1) Highlight, annotate and note-take – this makes you a more active participant in the reading process and greatly improves your retention and comprehension over what you’re reading.
2) Write a Review – Condensing the book’s main ideas and themes into a digestible review requires you to reflect on the author’s main message and how to effectively communicate those ideas to someone who hasn’t yet read the book. Writing a review not only illuminates others about the book’s existence and its content, but also serves as a thank you to the author for taking the time to put the work out there.
3) Read Far & Wide – Learning more about the stuff I know and love definitely has its place, but I’ve found that sometimes grabbing reads on disparate topics helps me make connections to ideas and information I otherwise wouldn’t know about. Forming these connections is an important prerequisite to problem solving and creativity.
4) Comparative Reading – What I’ve also been doing lately to get the most from a topic is comparative reading. I will read through five books or so on the same topic in order to synthesize and hopefully gain a broader understanding on the same topic.
5) YouTube – After I read a book I will search on YouTube for author interviews, book discussions or speeches given by the author to further consolidate my understanding or even learn some new insights behind what I’ve just read. Google Book Talks is a great channel for this.
Many people say that listening to audio books is a great way to get through a tonne of reading while performing a cognitively unchallenging or repetitive task like driving or cooking, but It’s the old conundrum where uni-tasking is often better than multitasking. I’ve tried audio books but for the most part I find my mind wanders a lot while listening and I miss a huge amount of information. I believe to get the most from your reading you have be an active participant in the process and passively listening doesn’t cut it; at least for me. What I have found audio books useful for is consolidating what I’ve already read because the information is being processed through a different medium than visually reading it. I’ve also read that speeding up the playback of the book to say 1.5 times the original speed, forces the brain to pay better attention to the audio.
There’s few things better in life for our own personal self development than reading. It’s not all about barreling through a list of books for the sake of getting through a canon of knowledge or even simply gaining understanding of a topic. The greater purpose of reading is to determine how to make the knowledge derived from reading useful in your own life and applying the lessons learned. Read – learn – do.