How to read more

Josh Sherman
3 min read

I never completed a single assigned book while in school.

Up until a few years ago, I averaged reading only two books per year.

This year, I’m on track to read at least thirty-five.

Double what I read the year prior.

And I am fully intent on reading fifty plus books next year.

What changed? Well for one, I started reading more. I know it sounds obvious but to read more books you simply have to read more books. Sit your ass down and read more, they don’t read themselves. I read on average at least one hour a day, some days as much as three hours.

I also made a very dramatic shift to reading more fiction instead of solely reading non-fiction. I’ve always felt that reading non-fiction is a better use of my time. I ended up stuck in the rut of reading mostly “self improvment” type stuff.

There’s nothing wrong with those books, but for the most part, they are all very formulaic. They tend to only have a short list of points they are trying to prove and after you read enough of them, you realize they are all mostly saying the same shit.

Not to mention, most of them are trying to sell you on ancillary products. Special notebooks, access to forums, more books that just keep saying the same thing over and over again.

Even though I didn’t used to respect fiction, it’s proven itself to be significantly more stimulating at this point in my life. I’ve starting saying brash things like “non-fiction tells you about what people have done, fiction reminds you that anything is possible”.

On top of reading more, since moving to Austin, I’ve been listening to more audio books. I’m still on the fence about them, but they definitely turn unproductive time into something productive.

I listen to books most days driving to and from HQ, nearly an hour a day, as well as while I am mowing the yard, which has been at least an hour on the weekend). On top of reading on my Kindle and “actual books” I am able to lock in five to six hours on audio. This comes out to a book every week and a half to two weeks.

I try to set aside time to read every morning as soon as I wake up and for a bit before bed. As of late I’ve been reading for a little while after dinner as well. I’ve replaced fucking around on my phone with reading almost indefinitely.

I used to track how much time I read similar to how my buddy Justin does it. These days, I am gunning for reading ten percent of a book per day.

I’m not entirely sold on the method since it doesn’t necessarily scale well. If you toss in the Steve Jobs biography or anything by Ayn Rand you end up needing read significantly more than if you are picking up a novel like Ready Player One.

The flip side of that, is that most of the time shorter books take less than ten days to read. I had knocked out Starship Troopers in about four days recently.

That being said, reading ten percent a day, every single day, should yield around thirty-six books a year. To get to fifty plus you have to have a faster clip. Sure you could read fast, but you could also read more or double down on audio books or just subjectively gravitate towards shorter books.

If you’re curious what I have been reading, I’ve started to keep a spreadsheet which is available here.

Keeping the spreadsheet has a few purposes. The obvious is just to keep track of what I’ve been reading. The other is make it easier to set a goal and see where I am with it. And then of course, for those are affiliate links ;)

I hope this post has inspired you to pick up a book more frequently or to give fiction a try. Any moment you can invest in reading is valuable regardless of what you’re reading.

Join the Conversation

Good stuff? Want more?

Weekly emails about technology, development, and sometimes sauerkraut.

100% Fresh, Grade A Content, Never Spam.

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

Currently Reading

Parasie Eve

Previous Reads

Buy Me a Coffee Become a Sponsor

Related Articles