How to read 5-6 books per month

Poll: One in four adults read no books last year. Don't be one of them. You're better than that.

“The difference between where you are today and where you’ll be five years from now will be found in the quality of books you’ve read.” ~ Jim Rohn

We all know that reading is important. But do we really know how important it is for our growth, development and success as individuals? I have always been a reader but not to the extent that I am now. Recently I've discovered a system that allows me to read about 5-6 books a month in about 30 - 40 minutes per day. I've tried a few of the speed reading courses out there. I also remember doing the mega memory program by Kevin Trudeau around about the same time. But honestly I still like to read at my own pace. I like language and how an author uses language to make their points.

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” - Confucius

To me part of the reading experience is sitting down, away from all distractions of things going on in my life and getting really into something of value that another person wrote about. It's just as much of an escape from something as it is moving towards learning something new. Why would I want to speed up that process, it's relaxing. Personally I'd rather get more meaning and value out of a single book than blow thru 30 books in a month. That just doesn't sound fun to me. But I've always wondered how can I read more, in the manner that I want but also be able to get thru all the books that I'd like. Hopefully what I share will help you as much as it has me.

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.” - Walt Disney

Before I get into my actual strategy, I'd like to share a couple tips that I have picked up recently. When I get to a section in a book I really like, I'll put a sticky note on that page. After I am done with the book (at any point), I'll type in my notes for that book. This makes my retention level of that book triple. I don't use this strategy as often as I'd like but when I do use it, it works really well for me. One other point you might want to consider is, don't waste time reading books you don't like. We're taught to finish what we start and never to quit. In my mind if you force yourself to finish a book you don't like it not only robs you of your love for reading and your passion for reading but it also robs you of something you could learn and be inspired about reading something else. Time is our biggest asset, if you're not learning or passionate about what you're reading, move on to something else. Don't waste your time and more importantly don't stick with something just because you feel like you have to. Who put that idea in your head?

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” - W. Fusselman

I'm sure you were like me when it came to reading. When you have a great book, you can't get enough of it and you blow right through it. But if you're reading something you don't like it can take forever to actually finish. Then you become so uninspired that in the meantime (while you're still finishing the book you don't like) you can't find another book you want to read. So what do we normally do? We either don't finish the one we started, or if we do finish it, we take a huge break and don't read for a while. It's interesting how when you're reading something you don't like, no new books seem to come to you, but when you're reading something you love, more good books seem to come your way, interesting.

“A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” - Samuel Johnson

There are a couple points I'd like to make which allows me to be able to read this many books per month. The first thing that I had to get really good at is time management. The second thing I had to improve on is my discipline. The third aspect I had to get better at was my planning.

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.” - Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Time management:
In order to really get good at reading this many books, I had to focus on the things each day that mattered. I didn't need to waste hours and hours watching television. I do watch TV but not nearly as much as I used to. I hardly ever watch the news anymore either. I might watch a basketball game and some financial shows and that's about it. Once I got better at focusing my time on things that mattered, suddenly there was actual time for reading. What is the number one objection for people not reading? They just don't have time. It's funny I used to say that too. I had the time, I just didn't spend it the right way.

“Effective readers, even at their earliest levels, read in five to seven word phrases rather than word by word.” - Richard L. Allington, "What Really Matters for Struggling Readers" (2001)

Being disciplined is key. This is a skill you must develop in order to be able to do this. You have to want to reach this goal of reading this much. If it's late at night and I haven't done my reading, I do it, there are no exceptions no matter how late it is. I've been up at 3:00 am before getting my reading done.

“You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” - Ray Bradbury

Because I get most of my books from the library I have to plan when I'm going to be done with one book so I can make sure I get the next one and have it ready so there is no downtime. I don't need to have big gaps of time being wasted when I could be getting more reading done. I'm getting better at the timing of all this and it's going much smoother. If you don't get your books from the library, you can still use the same approach. Maybe you buy them from Amazon. Just make sure that they'll arrive when they are supposed to so that there is no big time gaps in your reading schedule.

“ “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

Okay so on to my strategy. The strategy is so simple I'm surprised I've never got into it before. Here it is: I always have 2 books going at once. I have a primary book and a secondary book. I read once when I wake up and once before I go to bed. Each time I read I only read for about 15 to 20 minutes. In my primary book I read 10 pages each time and in my secondary book I read 3 pages each time. That totals about 780 pages per month! If an average book is about 200 pages, that equals 3.9 (let's round up for fun) or about 4 books a month.

“A man is known by the books he reads.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps you're saying to yourself that your schedule doesn't allow for you to read morning and evening. Then maybe you could read your 20 pages in one sitting in the evening or morning. Or you might be pressed for time so you can only read your 10 pages in the evening. Think about that though, you'll be reading a book a month or perhaps almost 2 books a month depending on the amount of pages. And if you factor in audio books, that puts you at about 3 to 4 books a month. You simply can't beat that. It's not an all or nothing deal. Just do what you can but develop a system or habit and stick to it.

“We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.” - B. F. Skinner

If we want what everybody else has then we just do what everybody else is doing. But if we want something different, we must do something different every single day. Whenever I go for my runs or walks down by our local beach, I never see people sitting on their patios reading. I see people watching TV. It's time to start developing our minds. Never regret the money or time you spend on your own personal education. As a side note, something I have been looking into recently is the Amazon Kindle. After reading all the reviews, I'm going to wait for the Kindle 2.0.

“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.” - Maud Casey

You might be asking how do I read the other books? Well I don't actually "read" them. I've learned over the years that I am primarily an audio learner. Each month I buy about 2 to 3 books from Itunes and download them to my iPod. As Jim Rohn would say, I turn my car into a "mobiel classroom". I listen to them while I spend time in the kitchen, when I workout, while I run, drive etc. This is being very conservative, if I wanted to I could probably listen to a lot more than that.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” - Harry S. Truman

I started this program in August of 2008. It is now December 2008. I've been keeping to my plan for almost 5 whole months and I've read 27 books since then. I guess you could say I'm averaging about 5 and a half books a month. Not too shabby for somebody who only reads about 40 minutes per day.

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read.” - Mark Twain

Think about it, In one year you could be an expert on anything you want. How many books did you read in college? Did you read just enough to get by? How about high school? In one year on this program you could read 60 to 80 books. Let's say you stay on this program for five years and one of your friends hasn't seen you in that amount of time. Since the last time you saw them you will have read 300 to 420 books. That's if you read 5 books and/or 7 books a month for that amount of time. Most people don't read that in a lifetime. For a meager 30 to 40 minute investment in yourself and in your time per day, that's minimum optimum at its finest. Imagine what kind of person you'll be 5 years from now if you were to read that many books?

“A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.” - Lyndon Baines Johnson

Wanna know what inspired this reading transformation? This article was inspired by listening to The Challenge to Succeed by Jim Rohn.

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