5 Steps to Triple the Number of Books You Read Every Year

Reading is a critical part of your journey as an entrepreneur. Many of the world’s greatest businessmen credit their reading habit for their success. Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Elon Musk are all voracious readers.

Reading isn’t an easy habit to develop. Most people get bored, lose attention or simply can’t will themselves to sit down and read a book. Since you’ve got a limited amount of free time as an entrepreneur, you have to find a way to increase your reading speed so that you can get more information in less time.

Here are five steps you can take to improve your reading speed while maintaining the level of comprehension you need to put the information into action.


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1. Start practicing speed reading.

Speed Reading

Speed reading

Speed reading is one of the best new skills you can pick up. There’s plenty of free information available online that teaches you how to speed read. There are several good books on the subject you can pick up, such as Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump and Photoreading by Paul Scheele. If you can get your reading speed to the 1,000-words-per-minute mark, you will drastically increase the amount of information you are able to consume in a day.

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2. Learn how to skim.

Learn to skim

Learn to skim

Most books have one or two great ideas built around supplemental information. If you spend too much time getting into the details of each book, you will end up wasting your time. If you selected the actionable information in most self-help books, it would add up to less than 10 percent of the total page count.

Get into the habit of skimming books. Go over the table of contents to see which sections you need to pay attention to. Usually, chapter titles will give you a good idea of what the author will be talking about in that particular part of the book. Skip around to the parts you feel are relevant and feel free to ignore the rest. Look at community reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. You will find people talking about whether the book you’re interested in should be read cover-to-cover or merely skimmed.

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3. Set aside some time for reading.

Taking out time to read each day

Taking out time to read each day

One of the lesser-known tactics to increase the number of books you read is taking out time to read each day. For example, you can start by setting a 30-minute timer for your reading activity. During these 30 minutes, don’t look at your phone or check your email. Allow yourself 30 to 45 minutes of uninterrupted reading time every day.

If you come across an unfamiliar word or phrase, don’t run your browser to Google it. Doing so breaks the flow that you’ve established. Mark the phrase or word and then come back to it once you’ve finished the section.

4. Start with something easy.

Start with something easy

Start with something easy

If you set yourself the task of reading Ulysses as your first book, you’re likely to give up. Stack the odds in your favor. Pick up an easy read or something about a topic which interests you. Pick a fiction or humor novel. A 100- to 200-page books works best when you’re starting off. Finishing a book activates your mental reward mechanisms and gives you the motivation you need to stick to your reading habit.

5. Don’t waste time on average books.

Don’t waste time

Don’t waste time

There are too many books out there for you not to pre-qualify your reading list; otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of hours going through something that might not be worth it. Pick the books you’re going to read after you’ve done the due research. Look for books with outstanding reviews or ones that are recommended by your mentors or idols.

Once you start reading, you’ll usually know within the first 15 minutes if the rest of the book is going to be interesting for you. If you find your interest wavering, drop any book that doesn’t absolutely captivate you.

Reading is a rewarding experience. Books broaden your perspective, improve your vocabulary, catalyze ideas and provide helpful information. As an entrepreneur, all of these things are invaluable to you. Use the tips listed above to read more books in 2015 than you’ve ever read in your life.

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