How to Read 50 Books in a Year

So you want to read more books but still haven’t got around to it? I used to be in the same situation. I knew it would be beneficial to read more but I still didn’t read more.

“Read for an hour a day” is something Pat Divilly always says and anyone who is successful seems to owe a lot of their success to the amount of books they read. And why wouldn’t they? Reading is awesome, it gives you a more ideas, improves your vocabulary and makes you more interesting.

I was never a big reader. Growing up, other than the Harry Potter series I didn’t read. I was more interested in computer games and sports. It wasn’t until I started this blog that I felt compelled to read more.

The initial motivation for reading was to generate more ideas for blog posts. Jon Brooks gave me this advice. If you have ever tried drafting out blog post ideas on a subject you’ll realise quite quickly that ideas dry up fast.

What Helped me Read 50 books?

Reading for an hour a day

This was fairly consistent throughout the year but as you’ll see below some months I only managed 2 books while others I read 10!

Reading Fiction

Another change I made that allowed me to make it to 50 was reading fiction. Last year I read 40 books all of which were non fiction. In January I was getting jaded by it. I found there were a lot of books that were using the same analogies and scientific studies to prove a point.

Once I found fiction i enjoyed it was much easier to read more often. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. As you can see below David Baldacci is one of my guilty pleasures. I actually cringe while I read his books but they’re page turners.

His books follow the same formula. A lone hero (army or FBI guy) who teams up with a hot local police officer and ends up saving the world from terrorists. I read his books quicker than anyone else I have tried so if you like a bit of corny crime fiction, give it a shot. I have only read the Will Robie and John Puller series so far.

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Listen to audiobooks

Another tactic that helped me read more was to listen to the audiobook version so I would usually be reading a non fiction book in the morning a fiction book before bed and listening to the audiobook during the day while commuting.

Use a phone/tablet/kindle

I read all of my books on my phone. I got into this habit last year because I didn’t want to be carrying books while traveling. This allowed me to read anywhere.

2015 Reading List

Number Month Title Author
1 January Mastery Robert Green
2 January You are now less dumb David McRaney
3 January As a man thinketh James Allen
4 January The Go Giver Bob Burg
5 February Mindset: The new psychology of success Carol Dweck
6 February Secrets of a millionaire mind Harv Eker
7 March The obstacle in the way Ryan Holiday
8 March All the light you cannot see Anthony Doerr
9 March Brilliance Marcus Sakay
10 March A better world Marcus Sakay
11 March Break the system Grant Weherly
12 April The 1st 20 minutes Gretchen Reynolds
13 April The hit David Baldacci
14 April The life changing magic of tidying up Marie Kondo
15 April Growth hacking Ryan Holiday
16 April Bullseye David Baldacci
17 April Revolution Russell Brand
18 April Fat loss happens on monday Dan John, Josh Hillis
19 April The innocents David Baldacci
20 April Play it away Charlie Hoehn
21 April Anything you want Derek Sivers
22 April The atlantis gene AJ Riddle
23 May The girl on the train Paula Hawkins
24 May The atlantis plague AJ Riddle
25 May Choose Yourself James Altaucher
26 May The atlantis world AJ Riddle
27 May The target David Baldacci
28 June The big leap Gay Hendricks
29 July The martian Andy Weir
30 July E myth Revisited Micheal Gerber
31 August Memory Man David Baldacci
32 August Essentialism Greg McKeon
33 September No Sweat Michelle Seger
34 September Steal like an artist Austin Kleon
35 October The Graveyard Neil Gaiman
36 October The entrepreneur’s guide to getting your shit together John Carlton
37 October Wherever you go, there you are Jon Kabat-Zinn
38 October Can you go Dan John
39 October Zero Day David Baldacci
40 October The paradox of choice Barry Shwartz
41 November How to buy your own island Danny Flood
42 November Ready player one Ernest Cline
43 November Zen Mind, strong body Al Kavadlo
44 November 5 levels of attachment Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.
45 November Yoga Anatomy Leslie Kamanoff
46 November Wool Hugh Howey
47 November The Forgotten David Baldacci
48 November Maximum Strength Eric Cressey
49 December Yoga Sequencing Mark Stephans
50 December Cashvertising Drew Eric Whitman
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Best Fiction Book

Brilliance by Marcus Sakay

I got this book recommendation from Paul Mort’s podcast and it’s awesome. It’s kind of like X Men but more realistic. Apparently there’s a movies coming out.

Best Non Fiction

Mindset – Carol Dweck

This should be required reading for teachers and coaches worldwide. It’s about the growth and fixed mindset. I wrote a blog about it here.

To summarise – people with a fixed mindset think that they are not naturals whether it’s athletic ability, music or languages. People with a growth mindset believe that no matter how poor they are in a subject they will improve as long as they put in the work.

Maybe 50 books is too much to start with but I’m sure you can read more than you currently are?
Kevin Kelly (who Tim Ferriss called “the real-life Most Interesting Man In The World.”) was asked “what is something a certain habit/skill/hobby that you believe can have a life-changing impact for most people?” His answer was “reading 10 books a year of your choice, all the way through, can change your life.” That’s less than 1 book a month and Kevin Kelly says that this will have a life changing impact on you.

How to read more books in the new year

1. Start small

I didn’t read 50 books in my first year of trying. In 2013 I read 16 books. Last year I read 40 books and this year I reached 50. If your current reading involves no more than the newsfeed on Facebook I’d recommend you make a tiny habit of reading. Something like reading at least one paragraph every day. This might seem silly to you but it will move you from not reading at all to reading every day. This is huge.

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If you already read I would commit to at least 20 pages a day or roughly 30 minutes. If you are motivated go with 40 pages a day or roughly 1 hour. If the books you read are between 200 and 300 (most non fiction are) this will result in 2-3 books a month if you read 20 pages a day and 4-6 books a month if you read 40 pages a day.

2. Find books you like

I didn’t start reading fiction until this year. The reason was that I didn’t find a book that I enjoyed reading. Now I know I prefer science fiction/fantasy and cheesy crime thrillers. It just took some time trying out different authors.

3. Don’t be afraid to quit a book

If you are reading a book a just not getting into it, quit it. There are 1000s of incredible books out there. Don’t waste your time on something that doesn’t excite you. I read “One the road” by Jack Kerouac last year and it took me over 2 months.

I just couldn’t get into it. It never drew me in. I read it based on the recommendation of friends, blogs and amazon reviews. Looking back now I would have quit and moved onto something I enjoyed more.

4. Read non fiction in the morning and fiction in the evening

I always find it easier to start a new habit in the morning. Instead of spending that 20-30 minutes on email and social media in the morning, read a nonfiction book or listen to an audio book. I would recommend to do this before leaving the house as part of your morning routine.

The months where I read less tended to be the months where I would watch movies before bed and not read. Fiction before bed is a great way to prepare you for sleep. 

These are the steps that helped me make reading a daily habit. I’m curious to know what what are your favourite non fiction and fiction books? Please let me know in the comments below.

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