By Tamara Pupic
Tips on how to improve your reading habits
Do not feel guilty if you are not a bookworm because you are not alone. A 2014 study by the Pew Research Centre presented some sad statistics - only 28 percent of Americans read 11 books or more in the preceding year. They further pointed out that a typical American reads five books per year.
The question is therefore more about how can entrepreneurs as some of the busiest people on the planet find more time to read? You might start by focusing on how to silent distractions and make reading part of your daily or weekly routine. Tennis player Martina Navratilova famously said: “I concentrate on concentrating.” A good idea is to have more books piled up in your house or to download more e-books if you are a digital reader to encourage yourself to grab one and read a bit even if you have only 15 minutes of spare time.
Other helpful tips include reading more than one book at a time, joining a community of people whose interest when it comes to reading align with yours and inviting them to join you in a reading challenge.
Why should I read more?
As an invaluable skill, reading can prove to be your reliable problem solver. Whenever in doubt, turn a few pages of an autobiography of a famous entrepreneur and you might find solutions to many of your current challenges.
The list of other benefits includes learning more, increasing your creativity, improving your grammar, enhancing your vocabulary, and more. Building a successful business is all about critical and creative thinking and nothing will help you more with that than becoming an avid reader.
How do others do it?
Around 88 percent of the wealthiest people read at least 30 minutes per day. Bill Gates aims to read a book per week. The main premise is that as responsible and committed business people, they are life-long learners. They therefore strive to prioritise reading over other activities.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hosts an online book club – A Year of Books – on his personal Facebook account. Every two weeks he invites millions of his Facebook followers to read a new book.
How to change my habits?
It is true that you might need to give up certain habits. Waking up early might be a good replacement for your less productive habits.
A 2013 report by Vanderkam found that 90 percent of surveyed executives wake up before 6.00 AM on weekdays. While Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5.30 AM to jog, Robert Iger, CEO of Disney, starts his day at 4.30 AM with reading.
You can also opt to read in the evenings. Reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent, according to a 2009 study by the University of Sussex. Therefore, reading a novel in the evening can prove more conducive to a good night’s sleep.
What should I read?
Successful entrepreneurs have often shared their book recommendations with entrepreneurs trying to make it big. For example, John Sculley, ex-CEO of Apple, thinks that they should all read “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal.
Marc Cuban believes that “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand “sums up the entrepreneurial passion and spirit” better than any other book.
However, you should not avoid reading books that portray the lighter aspects of life.
Last year, Bill Gates wrote in a blog post that he had added a few books “that are on the lighter side” to his summer reading “Each of these books made me think or laugh or, in some cases, do both,” he wrote.
Beach reading has also become a trend - many beachfront libraries around the world are there to help you grab a replacement if you have forgotten your book.