Why do you read?
There are various reasons why you might want to read. If you want to read fast to impress your friends by the number of books you read, this might not be for you. It’s rather slow.
But which sensible person would read just to score numbers of books read? Okay, for example me just a few years ago… But hey, we get a chance to change our opinions, don’t we?
Now I read to understand better the world around me, find better ways to get my work done, improve my writing… And to improve my thinking.
Last weekend I found just the right way to do this.
I was on a business trip to Austin for two weeks (and two weekends). The second weekend I was free of all obligations. I took a book (Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception), the Black Book, my iPad (in case I wanted to read anything else), and went for a tour around the best restaurants (understand: recommended by Google and my colleague Blue) and cafes in town.
My first stop is Via313 on East 6th. I enter and get seated. I take the black pen and the book out of my bag and start reading. It’s not a one-way communication. The book talks to me and I talk back. Not aloud. With my black pen. Sometimes I just underline; sometimes I write short comments (such as: “All Toastmasters are artists”). On page 84, a line about “Impresarios” sparks an idea. I know that it’s something I want to write about. I start scribbling a note on the page when I realize: “Why wait – why don’t I write it now?” I take out my iPad and using the magical magnetic keyboard, I start typing. 40 minutes later, I have a draft of a blog post. And I manage to down the “Detroiter” (fantastic pizza with crunchy cheese and pepperoni) along the way.
I spend the whole day this way: Meal / snack / coffee, read, write, walk. Repeat. I don’t finish reading the book on that day. In fact, I don’t read even a half of it. If I measured my effectiveness by number of books read, this would have been a lot of hours wasted. But – I end up with 4 blog post drafts. My blog-post-per-book record.
Get the fire burning
Maybe you are not too different from me. Maybe you too are reading to improve your thinking. You don’t need to blog. It’s one of the options, but you can do this to prepare for a presentation, for a debate with your friends in a pub, or just for the fun of talking to a book. Have a keyboard or a pen and paper close. Start reading. When a line in a book sparks a response in your head: Get the fire burning. Write your thoughts down.
Don’t worry about reading slow. It’s not a race. Forget speedreading.