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.

READ:  Good is Good Enough

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

NumberMonthTitleAuthor
1JanuaryMasteryRobert Green
2JanuaryYou are now less dumbDavid McRaney
3JanuaryAs a man thinkethJames Allen
4JanuaryThe Go GiverBob Burg
5FebruaryMindset: The new psychology of successCarol Dweck
6FebruarySecrets of a millionaire mindHarv Eker
7MarchThe obstacle in the wayRyan Holiday
8MarchAll the light you cannot seeAnthony Doerr
9MarchBrillianceMarcus Sakay
10MarchA better worldMarcus Sakay
11MarchBreak the systemGrant Weherly
12AprilThe 1st 20 minutesGretchen Reynolds
13AprilThe hitDavid Baldacci
14AprilThe life changing magic of tidying upMarie Kondo
15AprilGrowth hackingRyan Holiday
16AprilBullseyeDavid Baldacci
17AprilRevolutionRussell Brand
18AprilFat loss happens on mondayDan John, Josh Hillis
19AprilThe innocentsDavid Baldacci
20AprilPlay it awayCharlie Hoehn
21AprilAnything you wantDerek Sivers
22AprilThe atlantis geneAJ Riddle
23MayThe girl on the trainPaula Hawkins
24MayThe atlantis plagueAJ Riddle
25MayChoose YourselfJames Altaucher
26MayThe atlantis worldAJ Riddle
27MayThe targetDavid Baldacci
28JuneThe big leapGay Hendricks
29JulyThe martianAndy Weir
30JulyE myth RevisitedMicheal Gerber
31AugustMemory ManDavid Baldacci
32AugustEssentialismGreg McKeon
33SeptemberNo SweatMichelle Seger
34SeptemberSteal like an artistAustin Kleon
35OctoberThe GraveyardNeil Gaiman
36OctoberThe entrepreneur’s guide to getting your shit togetherJohn Carlton
37OctoberWherever you go, there you areJon Kabat-Zinn
38OctoberCan you goDan John
39OctoberZero DayDavid Baldacci
40OctoberThe paradox of choiceBarry Shwartz
41NovemberHow to buy your own islandDanny Flood
42NovemberReady player oneErnest Cline
43NovemberZen Mind, strong bodyAl Kavadlo
44November5 levels of attachmentDon Miguel Ruiz Jr.
45NovemberYoga AnatomyLeslie Kamanoff
46NovemberWoolHugh Howey
47NovemberThe ForgottenDavid Baldacci
48NovemberMaximum StrengthEric Cressey
49DecemberYoga SequencingMark Stephans
50DecemberCashvertisingDrew Eric Whitman
READ:  7 Morning Ritual Tips

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.

READ:  How To Restart Good Habits

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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