Last year I failed my reading challenge. I couldn’t finish reading 12 books in a year. At the beginning of 2016, I got competitive and wanted to prove that I can read 24 books a year. Now, I want to take up the 52 book challenge and read one book per week in 2017.
I’ve got an enormous amount of value from these 24 books I read this year. I started sharing notes from these books and created a reading list where I rate and summarize my favorite books.
The benefits of the 52 book challenge
You must be grateful for being able to read. You must use that gift. I love how Mark Twain summarized the power you have. The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.
The benefits you could reap joining the reading challenge.
- Enhance focus.
- Learn new things every week.
- Become more knowledgeable.
- Get ideas to improve in business, life, relationships, health and more.
- Be mentored by the best minds in the world.
- See things that are not easy to see.
- Train creativity and comprehension muscles.
- Become the idea machine.
- Learn to prioritize time.
Books are the best mentors in life. I’m still fascinated by how much you can change by reading a single book. People who might have been the best guides in the world are not among us anymore. Books carry decades and centuries of knowledge and wisdom. It’s foolish not to read.
How to read more
The problem is not that you don’t have time to read. You make reading inaccessible when you have time. Your reading time has to compete with mindless consumption of news, social media, television, and games.
To read more, you must consciously design your reading habits and organize your environment you help you with it. Below are strategies that worked for me.
- Read the first thing in the morning.
- Always have a book, whether it’s a physical one, Kindle or your phone.
- Read when you commute, take a break, wait for the doctor.
- Go on the blog reading diet.
- Go on the news reading diet.
- Go on the social media diet
- Read books that are interesting (not necessarily useful).
- Don’t worry about reading slow (take your time to think, highlight ideas and translate words if you’re reading in foreign language).
- Don’t force yourself to finish a boring book. Don’t steal the reading time from a book you’ll love.
- If you miss a day of reading, don’t beat yourself up, catch up the next day.
- Try audiobooks and listen when doing tedious tasks, walking and exercising.
- Discuss books with people who also read.
My reading list for 52 book challenge
I have over 500 books on my to-read list on Goodreads, and it was not an easy job to decide which books I will read for my 52 book challenge.
In the list below you will find books about habits, money, psychology, lifestyle, design, writing, science, history, business, spirituality and more.
- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels by Loretta Graziano Breuning
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
- Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
- Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
- Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise
- Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success by John C. Maxwel
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Anthony Robbins
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit by Seth Godin
- Psycho-Cybernetics and Self-Fulfillment by Maxwell Maltz
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
- Elon Musk: Inventing the Future by Ashlee Vance
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
- The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink
- The Way of Zen by Alan W. Watts
- Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love, and Live the Life of Your Dreams by Jeff Walker
- Mastery by Robert Greene
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
- Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- Self-Reliance and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth
- Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
- Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
- Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! by Anthony Robbins
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
- The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero
- Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
- The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
- The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone
- The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk by Al Ries and Jack Trout
I challenge you to read more
For every book I fail to read by the end of 2017, I will donate $100 to charity (I support ShareTheMeal at the moment).
I challenge you to read more next year.
Connect with me on Goodreads and create your reading challenge where you can share progress and stay accountable. Join the 52 book challenge by sharing the book list on your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Use the hashtag #readmorechallenge to become a part of the community and see how others are doing.
It doesn’t have to be 52 books. If you haven’t read a book in years, start with five and see what happens.
Challenge your friends to read more. Keep yourself responsible by setting high-stakes. Donating $100 if you fail to read a book is more accountable than $10. However, it can be anything: a day without internet, a week without TV, a week without social media for every failed book.
Are you ready to read more to make your life better?
Originally published at tomaslau.com on December 13, 2016.