Reading more is a stupid metric

I’m not too fond of new year’s resolutions. But I think I hate “reading a book-a-week challenges” even more because it’s a vanity metric that doesn’t add value in the long haul.

Reading several books back-to-back for knowledge or entertainment is mind-numbing. It’s just too much information for the brain to synthesize and process. And let’s not forget the sheer overwhelm of picking up a book right after you finish one. 

The whole idea of challenging yourself to read as many books as you can in a year, month, week, or even a day is stupid. It doesn’t make sense unless you listen to fake gurus preaching how they skimmed (err, read) a book a day to their present level of greatness.

Or you’re probably sold into the idea that if Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, and Bill Gates can spend 5-6 hours a day reading, you can do it too! Great idea, chum! Except, life doesn’t work that way. 

For two specific reasons: 

  1. They’re at a stage in life where they have more time and money to sustain their lifestyle. You either have a lot of time but no money or not a lot of time and some money. And, likely, you might not have either. 
  2. You’ll need to do a whole lot more than just reading a ton of books to get to their level. 

I’m not discouraging you from reading. But I want you to stop measuring or comparing your success with the number of books you’re able to read each month or year. It doesn’t mean a thing. Some of the most successful people don’t read many books, but that doesn’t stop them from learning. 

And I know some of them went out of the way to just read and re-read three books in a single year. And that became one of the most profound experiences of their lives as they were able to implement the principles from these books. Instead of chasing metrics, they focused on learning as much as they could from those 2-3 books they read. They were relaxed, which allowed them to absorb and learn so much of the hidden riches that we often miss out on when we’re in a hurry. 

As a result, when they weren’t reading, they thought of the books. Their brains were stewing the ideas, which led them to start implementing them and reap outstanding results. 

Real-world results. Isn’t that what you want to achieve from reading a book? If yes, what makes us lose our fundamental objective for reading books? Why does the thrill of reading 50-100-300 books a year excite us so much more than achieving results? 

Weird, right? Well, it’s your turn to make it less creepy. For the rest of the year, instead of focusing on the number of books, please pay attention to the fundamental principles and ideas and explore how you will implement them in the day-to-day. That’s what the books can help you achieve — results.

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