the ordinary blog
This week the BBC website published an article by Hannah Sander titled How could I read more books? which is a subject we have been debating over lunch at work recently due to self improvement guru Tail Lopez's website as he "evaluates" a LOT of books.
Hannah's article offers two main pieces of advice. Learn how to speed read from Tony Buzan a self development guru and using the spare small amounts of time in a day to read from literary coach Glynis Kozma.
Back to Tail Lopez whose list of books read is both interesting and impressive but I spotted that he had read Leo Tolstoys "War and Peace" on 28th November 2015. "How do you read War and Peace in one day?" I asked my colleagues. "Surely that's impossible?".
In the debate that followed we concluded that you would of had to used Tony Bozan's speed reading advice to the extreme and likely read the book a few times before so you knew where to hit the after burners.
I looked very seriously into speed reading a number of years ago and my opinion is that like any other skill, the more you read, the better and faster you become.anyway.
There are times when going faster than your natural pace makes a lot of sense. Technical documents are an obvious example but also specific detail in a book which you do not need to remember and you know is not central to the development of the book.
But you are always in danger of skimming over something that later becomes very important and missing the soul of the book.
Glynis Kozma's advice of finding additional moments to read is a better overall solution. With this in mind here are my tips to reading more books :
The first proper content to the site is now published and I am really happy with how it looks. I still need to add the comments to all but Think Like a Freak but I have most of them in rough draft now.
I am also looking forward to writing a page about the selection criteria as this is something that I'd like to work on throughout 2016 and score books as I go. It will also make the pages much quicker to publish if I decide to repeat this process next year.
When giving each book a score for each criteria I kept in mind the advice from Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow to score each book independently from each other and not tally the scores up until I had finished the process for every book. This way I kept the temptation to bias the scores in favour of particular books to a minimum. What surprised me was how difficult this was during and after the scores were added up. It proved too difficult on occasion and did add and subtract a few books by a tiny bit but I made sure I left the top 15 or so alone. I don't envy teachers having to mark essays one bit!
The results definitely through up some surprises the biggest being Marie Kondo coming out as the winner. It just ticked all the boxes and I didn't expect to like it anything like as much as I did. When I saw it on Amazon and read the positive reviews I couldn't believe anyone had written a popular book on tidying. The book reminds me of a shorter non fiction version of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 in that it is totally nuts at times, I mean who talks to their house or finds spiritual enlightenment in folding clothes? But like 1Q84 the book is magic. I have enjoyed tidying a lot more since I've read it, there aren't many weeks that go by without me thinking about it and I can't help recommending it to people. I read a few reviews on Goodreads today and it certainly seems it is a Marmite book with one lady liking it to a cult!!
Without the scoring system I would of almost certainly given the number 1 spot to either The Fault in our Stars or Flashboys. Michael Lewis wrote probably my favourite book of all time Moneyball so I am biased when it comes to his books but Flashboys was truly brilliant what a story and it's true. But The Fault In Our Stars is jaw droppingly good and they made a great job of the film too. It currently has over 1.7 million ratings in Goodreads at an average of 4.38. 1.7 million wow!! Looking for Alaska is in the bookshelf and on the 2016 to read list. I should of read it in 2015 but I was, and still am worried about reading it as if it doesn't reach the same heights I don't want it to spoil my memories of The Fault In Our Stars.
It has been a lot of fun to do this and a great way to start my website. So to 2016 and I'm hoping that doing this doesn't detract too much from actually reading. It is off to a great start with Life on the Edge - The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology. Nearly halfway through and it is really good so far.
I am 43 and lucky to have a fantastic wife and 3 kids who give my life purpose and make it fun too. To pay the bills I am a Software Consultant and have been for the past (mostly enjoyable) 18 years.