How Many Books Have You Read in 2018?
I have read 100, but why?
Being a CEO is always something that I have seen myself becoming, but, as with most things, being just a CEO would not be enough for me.
In 2017, I kept hearing that the average CEO reads 50 books annually, and I knew I wanted to be part of that group.
I have never really been into audiobooks though and knew that going from 0 to 50 would be a real struggle. Because of this, I put myself in a position that enabled me to listen to audiobooks. I am the type of person who loves productivity and feeling like all that I do is contributing to the goals and desires of mine.
“The average CEO reads 50 books annually”
Back in June of 2017, I decided that I could do it, I decided I could do what the average CEO does. I would go from 0 to 25 for the second half of the year, which meant that if I continued for a full 12 months, that would be 50 books, just like the average CEO. Now, here’s how I did it:
In August, I put myself into a position where I was driving in my car 15–20 hours each week for a delivery job. That meant that I could listen to music, audiobooks, or nothing for the majority of the time. Being who I am, I knew it would “force” me to listen to audiobooks, I just love being and feeling productive and I especially love learning. So that is how it began with audiobooks.
Then I read research that showed that by listening on 2x speed rather than 1x speed your brain digests and remembers the information better, for one reason, because it forces your brain to pay closer attention. Again, me being me, I did not want to stop there. I was like wait, if I can now finish a 6-hour audiobook in 3 hours, what if I increased the speed to 3x and finished it in 2 hours, could I do that and still retain the information and pay attention? Turns out, with a little practice and a lot of repetition, yes I can.
They also recently had an update on Audible, the app I use, and there is now an option for 3.5x. Other than freaking people out when I try to get them to listen with me, it has been going well. It really challenges me to pay attention closely. There are definitely times when I have to rewind a bit to hear points a few times or just because I hit traffic and need to pay complete attention to the road.
Quick pro tip from myself though, I did not feel comfortable at first upping the speed to 2x. I “tricked” my brain to get used to it. I would listen on 3x speed for a minute then rewind and lower to 2x, it felt sooooo slowwww which is what I needed. So that is where I am at now with audiobooks. 90% of the time I drive alone I listen to my audiobooks and I also do while cleaning, cooking, or doing laundry, it works out pretty well for me and definitely feels a lot better for me than listening to music all the time, as I said, I love to learn and I have come to love audiobooks (though there are those who argue that audiobooks shouldn’t count as reading a book).
What about the print books though? I decided for 2018 that I would read 20 pages nightly.
I chose 20 because I determined that 20–30 minutes is something that I can commit to every night. That has been wonderful, it has become a sort of meditation for me also. It helps me rewind each night, and it works for me. I like to get lost in a book that can teach me something before I sleep.
Often times I learn something that resonates with me on a deep level that leads me to ponder or reflect on something valuable before I sleep. That is so so good for me because then, it enables my subconscious to go to work for me and create solutions or opportunities while my body sleeps.
As that was the method that I used to read and complete books, I determined that completing 100 books (doubling the average number a CEO reads) was the perfect goal for me. Though once the year began, some sources stated the average CEO actually read 60 books annually, so of course, I upped my goal to 120 books by the end of 2018.
“The average CEO reads 60 books annually”
Now, looking back on 2018, I have been completing about 2 audiobooks to 1 print book. Most months throughout the year I have been completing 7 audiobooks and 3 print books.
It may seem like a lot but, if you think about it, it is not too bad, I’ll get into that now.
While driving to and from class or work, I listen to an audiobook. At 3.5x speed during a 15–25 minute drive, that’s about an hour of audiobook content. In between activities if I need a little break, I’ll often also listen to my audiobook or pull out a print book for me. Once home, I may spend a little time reading but often, it just ends up being the nightly 20 pages, which allows me to complete a print book about every 2 weeks.
So, here we are, approaching the final month of the year and I am at 106 books. That puts me on pace for nearly 120, I know I’ll get there. I have a few hours left in an audiobook and am over halfway with three other books I’m reading. So, with December being less busy in terms of class, I can take advantage and invest my time in myself. I’m happy with that, I’ve learned a lot and progressed a lot, but knowledge is not enough by itself.
First, we must apply the knowledge that we acquire.
Second, we must share that knowledge.
As I begin to reflect more deeply about the process I’ve undertaken this year, I need to really see if I have been applying all that I can from what I’ve learned. As 2019 is looming, I am beginning to understand the desired outcomes for the year. Whether that is matching the book goal from this year, increasing, or decreasing, I plan to do a detailed time analysis and really understand where my time and energy is best spent.
And now I ask you, what’s the best book you’ve read recently? What is the most impactful book that you have ever read?