How to Read More Books Using Audiobooks
Discovering the Problem
When I’ve gone through the process of setting goals for myself, I have often attempted to read more books. Typically I’ve set a numerical goal (for example read 12 books, so I can read at least one book per month), but have either found myself not accomplishing the goal or finding myself in September having only read several books and trying to play catch-up. This year I finally figured out how I can consistently finish books and have really been enjoying it.
The first step to solving this problem was figuring out why I kept failing at this reading goal. I have a hard time sitting somewhere quiet and focusing on reading without getting distracted or falling asleep. This makes reading a book take a really long time. Even if I’m enjoying the book it’s hard to get in a good consistent rhythm of reading, which led to a lot of partially finished books.
How to Read More Books
So the issue wasn’t setting an unrealistic goal or forcing myself to do something I hated, it was finding a better method to approach the goal. The first thing that I decided to try was switching to audio books. I had tried Audible in the past and had some success, but ended up having similar issues with falling asleep and then losing my place in the book, which was frustrating. So in addition to switching to audio books, I also switched the context where I was listening to them. I’m in the car at least a couple times a day (if not more) and it’s a perfect place where my mind is alert and there aren’t many distractions. I used to always listen to music in the car, so I just switched to listening to audio books. In just this short amount of time I can finish around 2-3 books a month. I’ve also found that going for a walk is a great time to listen, for similar reasons to being in the car (alert, captive mind). Not only am I going to easily achieve my goal this year, but I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot.
Finding the Optimal Path
My biggest take-away from this experience is that it can be extremely helpful to take a step back from what you’re doing and see if there is a better approach. To reach your goal try changing things like your environment, the tool you’re using, your sequence of actions, or even digging into your motivation for doing this in the first place. Even if you’re finding some success currently, you might find that there is a much easier path.
Here are some of the books that I’ve enjoyed so far this year (I may write some more about these in the future):
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
by Ryan Holiday
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World
by Gary Vaynerchuk – great examples of successes and failures in social media and how to use it for your brand
- Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal
by Nick Bilton
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
by Seth Godin
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!
by Al Ries
- Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success
by Shane Snow – great book about how optimal path to success may not be what you expect
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