I absolutely love reading. I can lose hours upon hours just transfixed in a book. As a matter of fact, there have been times when I’ve started a book, intended to read for a few minutes, and got so caught up in the story, I finished the book in one setting. That’s how much I love reading. I also believe everyone should read – from CEOs and billionaires to engineers, janitors and students. No matter who you are or what you do, reading will change your life in the best way, as long as you find the right material that inspires and excites you, whatever that may be.
A few days ago, I shared on social media that I managed to read 45 books in 2019. While many of my followers were shocked that I had managed to read so many books, others had tons of questions. Some of the most popular questions I got were:
- How do you manage to read so many books when you’re so busy?!
- What strategies can I implement to read more (or as much as you do)?
- Can you share the full list of books you read in 2019?
- What’s the first book you’re reading in 2020?
Well, guess what. I’m answering all of those questions right now! It took several hours to get it all down, but with so many asking, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to share and hopefully help others to expand their horizons through reading more books.
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The quote I despise the most in this world is “Ignorance is bliss.” It’s not bliss, it ain’t cute and it certainly does not encourage growth. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss 2019 was an awesome year of growth personally and professionally. The more I read, the more I learnt, the more I learnt, the more I grew! I close out this year having read 45 books: 40 hard copies (missing book is Tipping Point- dunno where it is 👀) and 5 audiobooks. My Top 6? • • “Born a Crime” ~ @trevornoah “Talking to Strangers” ~ @malcolmgladwell “Outliers” ~ @MalcolmGladwell “Dear Ijeawele” ~ @chimamanda_adichie “The Book of Joy” ~ Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” ~ Yuval Noah Harari What were yours? #yourjamaicangirl #terrikarelle #bookstagram
Strategies for Reading More in 2020
1. Don’t compete.
Read as many or as little as you want. It’s not a competition. If you want to read more, do it because you want to better yourself. Do it because you realise that there is so much out there to learn about and because you want to enhance your self development. Please don’t read because “successful people do it”, don’t do it because you want to match or outdo what others are, don’t do it because you jumping on a bandwagon. If you read for all the wrong reasons, then chances are you won’t retain, learn or apply it to you life.
2. Don’t limit yourself.
Most people set targets, my very humble and unpopular opinion is that you shouldn’t. Targets will have you speeding through books without actually enjoying or absorbing the material, just to check it off your list. On the other hand, targets can also be limiting – you set a finite number in your head, you reach it, then you stop. If a number is significant number to you, cool! If not, don’t limit yourself to any one target. Quantity won’t matter if the quality sucks.
3. Make the time and make it sacred.
I’ve heard so many people say that they just don’t have the time to read. Yet we make time for so many people and things that don’t serve us, that only seem to distract. So instead of leaving reading until you have some free time (which will never come), carve out some time in your day or week just for reading, and don’t allow for any distractions. Put your phone on silent, mute notifications, lock yourself away or go somewhere no one can disturb you. Better yet – all that time you waste standing in lines, waiting for meetings to start, waiting for food in restaurants, commuting to work, etc. – read! I travel with my books everywhere. I always have books in my car, bag and at least 3 audiobooks available on my phone. So whenever I find down time, I read my books.
4. Find what makes you happy!
I don’t buy the argument that print books are better or superior to e-books or audiobooks, or vice versa. I also don’t read a book just because it’s trending or it’s related to my career. I read in the format that’s most comfortable for me (mostly hard copy, with some audiobooks for faster or on-the-go reading) and I read what interests me (currently books about women, leadership, memoirs, mindset, the future). Choose what’s most comfortable for you and works with your lifestyle, and read whatever intrigues you. Otherwise, it will be boring and difficult and fuel a hatred for reading that so many have, simply because they’re keeping up with others’ expectations.
5. Read multiple books simultaneously.
I read multiple books at a time. Yup! We do it when we are in school, don’t we? We read multiple books covering various subject material. Some of us manage various tasks and projects at the same time and yet we limit our brain into thinking that we have to read one book at a time before we can start another. Why? I sometimes read up to 3 books all at the same time. If it helps, try choosing books from different genres or on different topics, so you don’t mix them up.
6. Follow great resources and read reviews
I don’t buy a book just because someone says I should. Instead, I follow certain hashtags and resources that I trust to get some great recommendations (such as @rebelwomenlit @decentred_lit_ja and @2treads on Instagram), but I also do my own research to find reviews and opinions on the books to see if they are a right fit for me. Reviews help, but just because one person likes (or doesn’t like) a book doesn’t mean it’s for you (or isn’t). Ultimately, it’s your decision – so always read reviews thoroughly to find out what people liked or didn’t like to determine whether those will also apply to you.
7. Pace yourself.
Finally, don’t force yourself to go from reading no books for years to reading 50 in one year. Practice becomes perfect. If you are rusty and trying to retrain yourself to read more, pace yourself and practice. Step by step. Commit and be disciplined, but don’t force yourself to go from zero to a hundred right away. The more you read, the easier it becomes.
The 45 Books I Read in 2019 (By Topic/Genre)
By Women (4) **
Books written by awesome women
- We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Dear Ijeawele – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- How to Get Sh*t Done – Erin Falcolner
- I’m Judging You – Luvvie Ajayi
Books on history, sociology and psychology
- Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
- Talking With Strangers – Malcolm Gladwell
- Originals – Adam Grant
- Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
- David & Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell
- 21 Lessons of the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari
- Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
- Elephant In The Brain – Jeffrey Kafer
- When – Daniel H Pink
Autobiographies & Memoirs (8)
- Born A Crime – Trevor Noah
- Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls **
- Educated – Tara Westover **
- Girl Who Smiled Beads – Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil ***
- Solitary – Albert Wood-Fox
- Small Fry – Lisa Brennan-Jobs **
- Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
- My Political Journey – P.J. Patterson
Financial Literary (2)
Leadership in Business (7)
- Dare To Lead – Brené Brown
- Radical Candor – Kim Scott
- Good to Great – James C Collins
- The Business Coach – Bradley Sugars
- It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy At Work – Jason Fried & David Hansson
- Developing The Leader In You – John C Maxwell
Personal Development & Mindset (7)
- The Book of Joy – His Holiness Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- If Caterpillars Can Fly, So Can I – Alvin Day
- The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone
- No Limits – John C Maxwell
- Today Matters – John C Maxwell
- 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth – John C Maxwell
- Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens **
- The Hate U Give – Angela Thomas **
- She Would Be King – Wayetu Moore **
- The Fall of Saints – Wanjikū Ngūgī
- Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
- By Love Possessed – Lorna Godson
- Black Leopard Red Wolf – Marlon James https://amzn.to/3dKI3Q6
Short Stories (1)
- Chat ‘Bout! – An Anthology of Jamaican Conversations – Shelley Sykes-Coley
**Books centered around a female protagonist.
Reading Plans for 2020
I may read more in 2020, I may read less. For me, it all comes down to quality and not quantity. To be honest, I hadn’t even realized how many books I had read in 2019 until someone asked me for a tally. At the end of the day, I read books because I truly enjoy them and I love learning through other people’s experiences and exploring various interesting topics from the perspective of the experts in the field.
What’s my first book for 2020? Linchpin by Seth Godin. In fact, I’ve already finished reading it. 😉