For most of my life reading has been a chore. I blame school. Book reports, essays, and multiple choice questions all turned reading into a means to an end. My “end” was ensuring my GPA stayed high enough so my parents wouldn’t stop paying for my car insurance. I always wanted to “read for fun”, school just seemed to make it impossible.
Now I can’t blame school entirely. My most distinctive memory from Freshman English was sitting in the back of class rolling pennies to the front where they would softly “tink” against the wall as Mrs. Richards wrote earnestly on the chalk board. Real mature Nate.
With school now well behind me, the world has evolved to present an even larger obstacle to reading. The ultimate time suck that is the internet. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, the options are endless. It was one thing when I had to sit down at a computer, now the gravitational force of the internet is omnipresent in my hand. I’ve always wanted to read more books, but the instant gratification of the internet has won-out nearly every time.
About a year ago I had two epiphanies.
- Successful people make time to read books.
- I want my kids to see me valuing the content in a book more than a clickable link on my phone.
That was about it. If I could just replace all the mindless time I spend browsing with reading actual books I knew I would be better off. Here are a few things I’ve learned that have helped me be successful in my pursuit to browse less and read more.
- Get a Kindle. Some people love the old school feeling of a paper book, but I love the convenience of my Kindle. I love the portability, the backlight for night reading, and the ease of getting new books. I don’t want to read on a tablet or phone screen, it’s got to be the e-ink display without any real access to the internet.
- Utilize the library. Over the last year I discovered you can check-out nearly any e-book you want through your local library and have it delivered to your Kindle, all for free. This has been a game changer for me.
- Maintain a reading list. If you’re borrowing books from the library you’ll have to wait to check out more popular titles. I’m constantly feeding my reading list with new recommendations and interests so I always have options to read if I have to wait on more popular books.
- Leave the internet out of the bedroom. My reading habit began to improve once I made a commitment to leave my phone and laptop out of the bedroom. If you want to minimize the browsing trap, limit your distractions.
Here are a few of my recent favorites over the past few months. Each of these books has made me better at something. A better coach, father, friend or husband.
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