My Solution to Stop Telling Myself to Read More

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So I used to tell myself that I should read more non-fiction books. But it never happened and here's why...

I don't like reading things that are longer than 15 minutes. Ever since I was young, I thought reading books was a waste of time. The subjects that were offered at school for our presentations were not appealing to me, to say the least. But this was 10 years ago. A lot has changed in those years, including my interest in self-development.

For the last 2 years, I loved podcasts, and I still do, but I feel like I get more value from audiobooks. This value is knowledge. Not overall knowledge, but knowledge of topics that are interesting to me. This previous month I finished 4 audiobooks and a paperback.

  • Atomic Habits - James Clear
  • How to win friends and influence people - Dale Carnegie
  • Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
  • The Compound Effect - Darren Hardy
  • Can't Hurt Me - David Goggins

But I'm not writing this article to show you how many books that I read or listened to, I'm here to show you a way to fit in books in your life, without sacrificing a lot of time. And I think that if you want to try broadening your horizons, you will learn so much by listening to self-development audiobooks.

Realizing the value of a book

Most of the books take at least 6 months up to even 2 years. In self-development books, most of the authors write to share their life stories or experiences. Most of these stories are success stories because that's the attractive part to most people. I love to read success stories, how some authors came from nothing, had no parents, or were bullied in their young years, and managed to write a best-selling book.

I think of a book, like a thoughtfully written summary of the author's experience. When I started reading Extreme Ownership, I realized that Jocko Willink and Leif Babin summarised their entire leadership experience from their years in the Navy Seals. This amazing experience was summarised in only 9 hours and 33 minutes of audio or 320 pages of paper.

Think about it, 9 hours and 33 minutes of your attention, for a summary of more than 10 years of leadership experience. That should be a no brainer. But I never thought about books like this, I thought it was a waste of time because it takes so long to finish it... But 10 hours is nothing in your life. In fact, by listening for 1 hour a day, you would finish it in 10 days. 10 days for 10 years of experience, still not a bad deal.

The authors have lived it, felt the ups and downs, and managed to conquer all the challenges on their path. And of course, you can't become a great leader by only reading about being a leader. That's the same as the fact that you can't be a writer by reading a lot of articles about writing. You have to put the work in and practice the craft.

But there are some challenges in this approach.

The challenge with audiobooks

Many people that listen to audiobooks have the feeling that they can't remember everything as well as when they read it. I had the same issue. I listen to audiobooks while cooking, driving, working out, and even when I'm taking a bath. But in the beginning, I could barely remember what I heard. And that bothered me a lot. Usually, I can pretty much remember the majority of the podcasts I listen to, but not here... Why?

At first, I thought it was due to the fact that I listened to the book in a hundred pieces. This could be 10 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes in the afternoon, and 1 hour in the evening. But that was not the problem, the problem was my accountability.

Remember when the teacher asked you to read a book in high school, and you just read the summary right before class? Well, in your daily life, there are no teachers expecting you to remember it. That's why I introduced my personal accountability moment.

The personal accountability moment can be used for many things, and I do so, but in this case, I will focus on my audiobooks. I schedule a maximum of 15 minutes of my time on Sundays to write about the book I read during the week. Every Sunday I open my Book Tracker and write about the topics that really stuck with me from the book. This could be 150 words or 1000. And you can also do this on a daily basis. But it's not important how much you write about it, it's important to write down the value that the book has given you. Your notes should be your reminder in a couple of years, without having to read or listing to the book again.

I used Extreme Ownership as an example because it's so applicable to everyday life. Many of us will have to lead a team or a group of people, maybe you might even become a CEO. If this happens, you might just want to read the fundamentals every day, to remind yourself that you have to take ownership of everything from your company. If your employees fail, you fail. But this is not a leadership article, so let's get on with the audiobooks.

But books are expensive!

Well, I don't think that's necessarily true. With Audible, you can buy 1 premium book a month for $14.95 per month. In addition to that, you will have access to a lot of free books and podcasts.

But I'm not here to sell you Audible. What I do want you to do is invest in yourself and your self-development. Everyone wants to become better, but few are willing to put the time and effort into it. That's where you can make a difference.

Where do I start

This part of the article is only for people who actually want to start reading and don't know where to start. If you know which books you would like to read, there's no reason to read keep on reading this article. Get yourself an audible subscription and start enjoying!

If you're still looking for interesting books, I can suggest all the books in this article.

  1. The books Atomic Habits and The Compound Effect are comparable. They will give you a broader perspective on habits and how small and consistent changes can improve your life and success.
  2. I think that Extreme Ownership is a book that every one that is interested in leadership, should read. In addition to that, add "How to win friends and influence people" to your list! These books will give you a basic set of rules that you can apply to become a great leader.
  3. And finally, Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins. Well, this book is not for everyone. In this book, David shows you his hard life. If you don't know David Goggins, this guy has run over 60 ultra races, was a Navy Seal, and finished 3 Hell Weeks.

I hope any of these books can help you as well as they helped me.
Are you ready for a change?

Passionate Javascript/Typescript developer | Clean code fanatic | Trying to become a productivity guru | Sharing knowledge is part of the process