Read more books in less time by listening to them

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Why do people nowadays not read more books? Remember how back in the good old days, you would pack a new novel for your vacation, and then sit by the pool all intrigued? With modern technologies like smartphones available, we rarely pick up a good, old-fashioned book anymore. People who don’t like to read might also argue that they don’t have enough time. But even the self-proclaimed bookworms can use that as an excuse. Personally, I have shifted from the first type to the latter, reading more and more as I have gotten older. But no matter how you categorize yourself, this article might help you find a solution for this challenge.

Focus on your passion, but also look further

But really, why should you read more books anyway? There’s definitely no lack of great literature in this world - in fact - we have everything from thrillers to romantic novels in abundance. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is prioritize. You have to find your niche, the genre you really like and enjoy. Maybe skim through some booklists to identify what grabs your attention. But the genre is not the only thing that matters; You also need to enjoy the style of writing. If you want to keep reading on a regular basis and in the long run, you need to genuinely find pleasure in the activity.

Get out of your comfort zone to get more comfortable

As centuries have passed, printed books have become a normality. Besides hardcovers and paperbacks, we now also can use screens to read large quantities of text. These devices are called eReaders, and they’ve been optimized to make reading for long periods of time more than bearable. We also have access to high-quality recorded podcasts and audiobooks (which are real books, voice recorded by an author or actor). I highly recommend trying all these forms of consuming literature and science.

It does take some time to get used to alternative books. Holding a lightweight eReader feels different than paging through a book, and you need to stay focused in order to listen to spoken words without images. You need to try it yourself to see what I mean. Especially listening to books is hard is first, as you’re missing the visual stimuli. But once you get used to these new methods, you might never want to turn back.

It’s never the right time to read more books unless you make it

Just like with everything else in life, reading requires your precious, valuable time - time that you probably don’t have too much of. But guess what, the ‘right time’ will most likely never happen. You have to consciously make the decision to take that time. It’s a very personal decision, but I think identifying that right moment will change you for the better.

I have fallen in love with audiobooks (which should not be confused with audio plays). Reading by listening has made my solo travel time much more pleasurable. I can now ‘read’ when I drive when I walk, or even when I take the bus. For me, this is the perfect solution. I no longer feel like I’m losing time, rather, I’m gaining back the time I lost.

Slowly increase the speed, up to your limit

So how can you read more books? With some practice, you can increase the speed of your reading (to a certain degree). There are different practices for quick reading, but I’ve never tried them myself. Instead, I increase the speed on my audiobooks - up to double the time. Of course, it depends on the quality of the speaker, and on what other activity I’m doing at the same time. Driving through dense city traffic obviously requires more attention than a long stretch of highway. It’s remarkable how fast your mind adapts to the increased speed of talking. After about a minute, it will sound as normal as before. I recommend Audible, and I think you’ll be astonished by how much you’ll like it!

screenshots of audible on ios

Reducing hundreds of pages to the core essence

Is there a way to read more books without reading all of them? Most books can easily be summarized down to the main messages. Once you strip away all of the lengthy descriptions and repetitions, you’ll be left with what really matters: the core. However, by doing so, you’ll lose all the stylistic details and also the joy of reading. It’s a great method though if you quickly want to grasp a concept or evaluate a book further. Blinkist is a great choice, but thanks to the internet, there are plenty of other websites with summaries too.

screenshots of blinkist on ios

Reading books and the art of printing have helped evolve our society into modernity. Books allow us to transform our personal stories as well as help us grow our knowledge. Unleash the power of written and spoken word, and grow your horizon - read more books!

You might also like

wisdom 2.0 - Day 2 - listening to mindful and conscious speeches at the best conference in the world
listening to mindful and conscious speeches at the best conference in the world
Africa Digital Media Institute - meeting Africa's creative multimedia creators and producers of tomorrow
meeting Africa's creative multimedia creators and producers of tomorrow
National Institute for Zorig Chusum - Bhutanese show-case school for traditional arts and crafts
Bhutanese show-case school for traditional arts and crafts
Googleplex (headquarters) - visiting Google's headquarter in Mountain View, the heart of the internet we know
visiting Google's headquarter in Mountain View, the heart of the internet we know