I love, love, love reading.
There’s no other learning medium in the world that lets you:
- Sneak a peak into someone else’s brain
- Have years and years of research all packaged up for you
- Potentially use it to level up your money/career/relationships – one chapter could literally change your life
- Learn a couple of fun stories along the way
… All for the price of a movie ticket (or less)!
Cool Books I’ve Read In The Past 2 Months
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss – One of the best negotiating books I’ve read in a long while. The writer was the FBI’s top hostage negotiator and he’s negotiated against bank robbers, kidnappers, and even the Abu Sayyaf. I love it because a lot of the lessons are the complete opposite of the usual “Getting To Yes” stuff that you learned in school.
Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua – Super easy-to-read book about an Asian tiger mom pushing her kids to succeed. Tiger moms get a bad rep these days, but I loved the perspective on deliberate practice, sacrifice and success. Also, my wife read it and now she’s convinced that we need to get our future kid into Harvard (uh oh).
Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer – A peek into the fascinating world of memory competitions and the folks who compete in them. It has some great insights on the mind, memory techniques and how anyone can improve their memory (The author trained himself for a year and – spoiler alert – successful won the USA Memory Championships).
How Do You Find The Time To Read?
Lots of people complain that they don’t have time to read, which I think is B.S.
I do my reading primarily on my 30-min MRT ride to/from work. 2 train rides of 30 mins a day = 1 hour of reading a day. Stop watching those lame dramas or scrolling through Facebook, and you can get through a book in 1-2 weeks.
Once a week, I pack lunch and sit at a park near the office to read. I know it totally sounds like a hipster-ish thing to do, but it’s awesome to get away from the maddening crowd, read, and just think for a bit.
Other places I read: When I travel. When I’m eating by myself. When I’m waiting for my wife. While I’m using the toilet (Hey, everyone plays with their phone, so what’s wrong with reading?)
How To Get More Out Of Your Reading
Read whatever interests you. Don’t force yourself to read some nuanced philosophy book because your pretentious colleague said it was a work of art. Just any title that sounds interesting, and go. Yes, even if it’s fiction. Reading should be pleasurable, not painful.
Read the top 3-5 books of any subject. Go to Amazon and search for the top 5 books, then go to the library and borrow them. I guarantee that you’ll know more about that domain than 95% of the world. Eventually, you’ll start to see recurring themes and get bored – that’s when you move on to another domain.
Get a Kindle. Best investment ever. You can download books for way cheaper than any bookstore, and carry them wherever you go. You can also highlight passages and make notes, although the current interface is a little clunky. I bring my Kindle everywhere – here’s what it looks like (you can see how totally abused it is):
Record cool stories. As a blogger I always need good stories and ideas, so I record all the cool examples and stories I come across in a Google Doc. I may not always use them (to date I have about 30 stories/examples after doing this for 2 months), but it’s a nice repository to turn to when I need inspiration.
Make notes. I usually remember the high level points of books I’ve read, but I tend to forget the details. So this month, I started recording a couple of key points (no more than half a page) about the book in Evernote. So if I ever need it later, I just do a search and I get a quick recap of the lessons pretty quickly.
That’s it for today (I wrote this on Saturday) – I’m gonna head out, have a leisurely McDonald’s breakfast (mmmm…) and read 🙂