How to Read More Books: Learn from the Masters

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Are you looking to read more books but can’t seem to find the time or the motivation? You’re not alone. The world is full of distractions that can waste your time and energy. But for those who have a passion for the written word, there are ways to overcome these hurdles and cultivate a robust reading habit.

Reading more books is an admirable goal that can expand your mind, improve your cognitive abilities, and offer you a richer, more nuanced understanding of the world. Bibliophiles like Tyler Cowen and Ryan Holiday are well-known for consuming vast quantities of books yearly. Let’s explore their strategies and learn from their habits.

Tyler Cowen: Quantity and Quality

Economics professor and co-founder of the blog Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen, is known for his voracious reading habits, consuming hundreds of books per year. How does he do it? Here are a few insights.

1. Skim first: Cowen advocates for speed reading or skimming through a book before deciding whether to devote more time to it. Skimming allows you to get the gist of the book, which can help you decide if it’s worth delving deeper.

2. Don’t be afraid to quit: If a book isn’t engaging or useful, Cowen recommends abandoning it. There’s no sense in wasting time on a book that isn’t providing value. Life is too short, and there are too many good books out there to stick with one that’s not working for you.

3. Read broadly, but specialize too: Cowen suggests reading widely to expose yourself to a variety of ideas, but also recommends specializing in certain areas. By focusing on specific subjects, you can develop a deeper understanding and knowledge base.

Ryan Holiday: Deliberate and Reflective Reading

Ryan Holiday, author, media strategist, and populizer of all things stoic philosophy, is another avid reader who goes through hundreds of books a year. He has a different approach to reading than Cowen; here are some of his strategies:

1. Always have a book with you: Holiday suggests always having a book on hand. This allows you to fill in those idle moments with reading rather than scrolling through your phone.

2. Note-taking and marginalia: Holiday is a firm believer in active reading. He takes notes, underlines passages, and writes in the margins of his books. This helps him engage more deeply with the material and aids in recall later on.

3. Reflect and review: Holiday recommends reviewing your notes and even rereading books to ensure comprehension and retention. By reflecting on what you’ve read, you can deepen your understanding and apply the knowledge to your own life.

Conclusion: Develop Your Own Reading Habit

While Cowen and Holiday have different strategies, they share a deep love of reading and a commitment to making it a priority. If you want to read more books, consider trying some of their strategies.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to read more books for the sake of quantity but to enrich your mind and life. So skim or dive deep, read broadly or specialize, take notes or reflect — find what works best for you and make reading a part of your daily routine. The world of books is vast and varied, and there’s always something new to discover.



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Running on Empty

Hey, y’all. It’s time for another “10 Things” to clutter your inbox. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a week for me. I’m looking forward to a little break this weekend.

10 Things Worth Sharing

  1. Noam Chomsky thinks ChatGPT is “basically high-tech plagiarism”
  2. ICYMI, Google debuted their own AI-powered chatbot this week, Bard
  3. What if George Lucas had directed “2001: A Space Odyssey”? (It’s flipping brilliant)
  4. Polymath Tyler Cowen talks about ChatGPT and reading in clusters
  5. We’re digging deep into crafting a profile of a graduate in my home school district. I found this great article for steps to take in that long and very rewarding process right here.
  6. Busting the attention span myth
  7. Call me a nerd, but I’m super excited about this upcoming book on the history of the keyboard
  8. I see this pop up every now and then, and I always love this Gregory Hines tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr.
  9. While some are continuing to freak out about AI, others are getting right to work. My current favorite visual AI project exists at The Visual Dome.
  10. RIP Burt Bacharach. He made music that sounds like that of no one else on earth. He had a special and creative way of making music, blending jazz, pop, and classical sounds, which made him one of the most famous and beloved pop music composers ever.

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