In the first 6 months of this year I read 2 books. In the 3 months that followed, I read 14 books. That’s basically going from 1 book/quarter to 14 books/quarter.
So what changed?
Reading more books has always been on top of my resolution list. Every January I’d swear that this is the year when everything would change. I’d buy the books I’d wanna read, I’d even take them with my in my country-to-country moves, but I’d never touch them. Too busy, too little time, too distracted.
After developing a big passion for podcasts over the past two years, I found myself squeezing in podcasts into every free minute of my day. I’d listen to them when getting ready for work, during the shower, on my bike ride to the office, and so on. I’d even listen to them at 1.5x speed, trying to process more and more information in less and less time.
Then it occurred to me that this might be the solution. I should listen to all the books that I’ve been wanting to read.
You need to know that I’m an idealist at times. I don’t have a kindle, because I love holding a book in my hands. But what’s the point of savoring a feeling if I never actually never find time to experience, I asked myself. I further realized that at the end of the day what mattered most was that I absorbed the content of the book, so did it really matter if it was through reading or listening?
So early July I started listening to books. And before I knew it, I was devouring one book after the other. Suddenly I was reading all the books that for years were on my shelves. Within days I would start and finish listening to books that would have taken me weeks or months to read.
The most important lesson for me here was that sometimes I need to be less idealistic to reach a goal. Sure, books are physical items with ink on paper. That’s how they were invented and “ought” to be consumed. But at the end of the day what matters is now how I consume it, but that I do it. And if a different method works better, then that be it.
If you are curious, these are the books I read
Bad Blood (the story of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes)
Super Pumped (the story of Uber and Travis Kalanick)
So you want to talk about race? (a book on race relations in the US)
Know my name (the memoir of the Brock Turner rape case)
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (the memoir of Chris Hadfield, Canada’s first astronaut)
The Accusation (7 short stories written by an anonymous author who lives in NK)
The Last Girl (the memoir of Noble Peace Price winner Nadia Murad)
Bullets and Opium (interviews with survivors of the Tiananmen massacre of 1989)
Born a Crime (Trevor Noah’s memoir of growing up in South Africa under apartheid)
Billion Dollar Whale (the story of Jho Low and how he betrayed the Malaysian government)
Dreams from My Father (Barack Obama’s first memoir)
Becoming (Michelle Obama’s memoir)
Shoe Dog (A memoir by the creator of Nike)
Why Nations Fail (a book about the origins of power, prosperity and poverty)