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10 habits to develop to read 100 books in a year

I set out to do this at the beginning of 2023: I calculated that I would need to finish about 2 books a week. I thought it was an audacious goal, but I hit the milestone yesterday after 8 months.

I read tactical nonfiction (how to write books, play guitar, write code), pop science books (how your brain works, AI, intermittent fasting), history, biographies and a few fiction books. About 61% are audio, 33% kindle/pdf/eBooks and 6% paper books.

With the subscriptions that I maintain for convenience and access to current releases and a few paper book purchases, I am spending about $500 a year. This is a bargain compared to a university; if necessary, it can be done for free. The skills and mental shifts that I have learned this year are probably worth at least 10 times that much to me, and possibly as much as 10,000 times as much over the next decade. Time will tell: reading like this is one of the long-game strategies.

By reading so many books and so broadly, I have found nuggets of information or new perspectives in books where I did not expect it.

I have found that reading this much is quite sustainable and I get a lot out of it. Give it a shot!

10 habits to develop to read 100 books in a year

    1. Keep a spreadsheet of the books you read

    This helped with gamification, motivation and retention. I also added links back to any NotePD lists or other information.

    I review it periodically to remind me of the things that I learned.

    This morning with the help of chatGPT, I added some columns that summarized the topics and formats I read.

    2. Read some shorter eBooks

    This is kind of cheating but some of the shortest books that I read were the most informative

    3. Set up accounts with your library

    This removes some of the financial pressure and many libraries have eBooks and audio books

    4. Train yourself to listen to audio books at 3x or higher

    If there is limited background sound, you should be able to do this with some practice. I need to slow down if the speaker already speaks quickly or has a strong accent, or if there is a lot of background noise in my environment.

    5. Subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and Audible

    For a total of $20 a month you can get unlimited Kindles and many audio books. I also subscribe to Packd for coding books and courses.

    6. Always carry your phone with AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones

    You will find many moments where you can listen for a half hour or even 5 minutes at a time throughout the day.

    7. Always have something queued up in your kindle app

    Same as above.

    8. Read broadly: pay attention to references to books and see if you have access to any book mentioned in another book or podcast

    If you do this and follow podcasters you will find that many authors cover the same ground and cross-reference each other. You will find that about 10% of the self-help books released in the last decade reference "the marshmallow test" for delayed gratification.

    9. If a book seems like a good idea buy it

    This is a Ramit Seti idea: never hesitate to buy a book. This has served me well so far. If you learn one thing from a book it is worth it.

    10. Take notes as you read

    Make some NotePD lists. I use Apple Notes on my phone. It does well with voice recognition while listening to audio books and I can copy and paste from kindle and pdfs.

    This helps me pay attention while reading and get more out of each book.

    11. To read some longer books, simultaneously read some shorter ones to stay on pace

    If the numbers matter.

    12. Learn to speed read

    I have read very few books this way this year but it is a useful skill to have:

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