How I Read Over 50 Books in The Busiest Year of My Life
EDIT** — Disclaimer, I do not work for Amazon, or Audible I just love their products. If you want to get these books from the library or other sources power to you. I just find it easier going to Audible. I am flattered that you all think this would be a sponsored post 😉
Being a father, having a spouse that works full time, working full time myself on a startup, helping friends with their startups on weekends, being the best father, husband, son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, and friend I can be, doesn’t leave a lot of time to read.
So I stopped reading (mostly) and chose to listen to my books instead.
In a given week I don’t have a lot of free time, but I do have a lot of found time.
Daily walk to and from train, 4 hours / week.
Waiting for my son to fall asleep, 3 hours / week.
Cleaning the house, 4 hours / week.
Driving, 1 hour / week.
Grocery store, 1 hour / week.
Random solo errands, 1 hour / week.
This gives me 14 hours each week or about 700 hours every year to listen to books.
The length of books ranges a lot, especially when you are reading non-fiction. I love The Teaching Company’s offerings but they can run 30+ hours. I also just finished A Song of Ice and Fire, which was a heavy 200+ hours.
One of the biggest problems with audiobooks is that sometimes you just aren’t in the mood for them, especially dense non-fiction. So the system that I use is to always have at least 1 non-fiction and at most 1 fiction on the go at once. Audible makes it easy to switch back and forth while saving your position so that’s not a problem, and this gives your brain a break and makes listening that much easier.
- Listen to the preview first. If you don’t like the reader’s voice it’s going to be a struggle. This doesn’t happen often, most voice actors are incredible.
- Don’t listen to more than 3 non-fiction books at a time. You will likely gloss over details and you won’t retain nearly as much as you want.
- Buy paper books of the audiobooks you love. Audiobooks are hard to reference later, so having a physical copy that you can skim through is key, especially for non-fiction.
- Re-listen to books you love. Your brain will wander when listening and you will miss things. Re-listenting lets you get the details you missed.
- Download all books, don’t stream them.
- Buy a subscription.
The last one is key. Audiobooks normally cost around $25–35, so this year could have cost me $1,700. Instead, I buy a subscription which gives me 24 books for $9 a book. 100% worth it.
I do still read physical books, in fact, I read about 10 physical books this year using the traditional reading times: before bed, while Jack was napping, on the train, early in the morning etc.
10 books vs 50+ books, simple math. If you love to read, and miss reading because life is busy, leverage that found time and stop reading, and start listening.