How to Read a book in a week

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Make reading books a ritual. The good think about rituals is that don’t break easily. Starting out building a ritual could be painful at the beginning, but it becomes a part of you once you repeat it for some days.

Initiating a ritual is the most difficult part. According to the book “The Power of HABIT”, developing a habit is a 3 step process. First, you need to find a cue(1) in order to start doing an action/response (2) and finally, you get some sort of reward for your act(3). Some habits are easy to develop while some are hard. Why is it so?

Developing a bad habit like smoking cigarettes is easy because you get an instant feel of relaxation (reward) which compels your brain to repeat the action of smoking cigarettes. Whereas in the case of reading book you don’t get an instant reward for your action, it takes some time to develop a sense of accomplishment(reward) system within you. Developing a habit of reading a book is not as lucrative as watching TV series or movies. If you have a sense of control over your instant gratification, then developing this habit will become easier for you.

All the end of this blog I have a few book recommendations for you do check it out:

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A simple exercise I described here will help you to develop the habit. Today, before going to bed decide a book you want to read and imagine yourself reading the book the next morning at the decided time. This method is much more effective than reading the book at night before sleeping. The next day when you wake up you won’t be wasting time deciding the book to you want to read, you already did it. You have saved energy and time which you can now invest in reading the book you have chosen.

I never advise anyone to read before going to bed, although this habit is really popular among the masses. Many people doze off while reading a book, doing this you are actually training your brain in a negative way, you are developing a habit which will impact you in a negative way. Your brain works on cue, action, and reward. Exposing it to the same pattern, again and again, makes it a habit. After enough training, next time when you will open a book to read even if it’s in the morning your brain will get triggered, seeing a book (cue) it will make you feel sleepy(action) and you will wake refreshed(reward). So, avoid reading the book at night.

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It’s also important that you read something which is not just and entertainment. If you want to make progress in your life read books that actually add value in you. In a study, it was found out that “An Average CEO reads about 52 books a year” while “An Average person in the US reads only 2 books a year”. All the great personalities Warren Buffet, Satya Nedela .. they have a good collection of books in their reading space. You can browse through Bill Gates and many other habitual readers’ best reads on their blogs.

Reading a good book is like experiencing the world through the author’s eyes. Most of the good books in the non-fiction category are written by Nobel laureates, Ph.D. holders, and experts who are actually well versed in the field. Imagine how much you can learn, reading their life’s work. If you can maintain this consistency imagine how much you can learn every year. This one habit will transform you, it will give you the ability to see and think in the ways you never imagined before.

It’s also important not to get carried away with reading, many people read like they are reading their textbook, line by line, word by word. On average a person can read 300 words per minute or a page, which means in order to finish a 100-page book a week you will need to study 1 hour a day. I haven’t considered the time it takes you to understand and absorb the facts written in a non-fiction book.

There is a specific technique on how to read a book a week, reading fast etc. You can google it. But here I will tell you how to start reading a book in best possible manner.

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Before starting a book read reviews about it on the internet first. Is this book really what you want to read about.

Get to know the general idea of the book. Never read the first page because generally it’s written in such a good way that you can’t resist reading the book at once. Glance through the index, introduction and the last few pages of the book/conclusion.

Now, think about the return? Will this book add something meaningful in you? If you are convinced with your answers go ahead, else iterate over the process till you find a good one.

As I said even after choosing the book, don’t start reading the book from the first chapter, line by line. Go through the chapters in a summarised manner. Stop at the chapters which interest you the most and start reading it. Remember, you can always go back to bookshelf in case you need it again. In this way, you can finish the book while maintaining your interest in it.

Never sit with a highlighter while you read. I believe that “You apply the concepts you have in your heart, not in your notes.” So, don’t start underlining or highlighting the book in the first read else you will end up coloring the entire book. You can start taking notes or highlighting important points in your second read.

Finally, after you have read a book, try to summarize it in the form of a blog, essay or audio recording. It will help you to strengthen the concepts you have already learned.

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Warren Buffet once said in an Interview that Rich is getting richer not because the system is unfair but because making money in the modern world requires specialization. Now in this data-driven world where everything is knowledge, it becomes very important to read and enhance your skills.

Buffet always gives credit to his success to his one habit which is reading, reading a lot. Talking about him he likes reading so much that since his early 20s he is reading every day for 3 hours, anything he can put his hands on, newspaper, magazines, books, articles, etc.

Reading can be done in breadth, where you study a wide variety of subjects and going into depth requires specialization. Consider your college degree, you had open electives that gave you a chance to look for other fields that might be of interest to you. At the same time, you completed your major too which made you an more of an expert in that field. Society or more precisely corporations like experts. Have you ever seen a company’s CEO doing all the work? No, he has a team of experts, who do this job for him, and in turn, earn a handsome amount. The economy runs like that, your expertise matters. Now you understand when to read in breadth and when to read in-depth.

Now, Let’s move on to the types of books you should read?

Biographies — If you haven’t read one you should read biographies. These are not just a medium to learn about a person, but to see the world around you from their perspective. Imagine how many different viewpoints you can get about a single thing by reading different biographies. How many lives you can experience in a single lifetime. They are a great source of information about your role model. You can know more about them and follow their footprints. Biographies guide you through the journey of your life.

AudioBooks — You must have or have been wasting a lot of time in commute. I generally use the time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts. Personally I prefer reading over audiobook but if you do not book lover audiobooks could be of great help. You can also combine both of them. Read while someone pours the words in your ear.

How to make your reading stick to your memory?
Don’t just read feel it, relate it. Your brain forms new neural connections when you are learning, you only remember details when these neural connections are strong enough. Imagining and revising are two ways in which you can accomplish it.

Here are a few selected books I read and found interesting. You should read them too:

  1. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  2. One up on the Wall Street by Peter Lynch
  3. Rich Dad Poor Dad
  4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  5. Atomic Habits by James Clear
  6. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt
  7. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Khanmen

YouTuber | Filmmaker | Educator | Undergoing graduation from IIT Kanpur | Drone Enthusiast