How to Get Into a Reading Habit ( 6 Steps to Fall in Love With Reading )


How to Get Into a Reading Habit

We all know we should read more, yet so few of us develop a consistent reading habit.

Warren Buffet, one of the greatest investors of the 20th century, spends 80% of his working day reading and thinking.

When asked how to get smarter, he held up a stack of papers and said:

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

To achieve better results in life, constant learning is essential, and the best way to learn is by reading effectively and extensively.

Books are the best technology of the 21st century. Reading books is like collecting mushrooms in Super Mario—it powers you up.

In the past two years, I’ve read more than 100 books. Before that, I had probably read 50 books in my entire lifetime.

What changed?

I’m not a speed-reader, and I didn’t magically find an extra hour per day to read. All I did was follow a simple system to help me read every day.

Now, you can copy it and develop a reading habit as well.

Why You Should Develop a Reading Habit

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” — Richard Steele

Before checking out my reading habit system, it’s important to understand the "why." Knowing why you are doing something motivates you to keep going.

If you’re reading this, you probably already appreciate the power of reading, so I’ll keep this brief. Here are the top five reasons you must develop a reading habit.

1. Reading Upgrades Your Brain

Books enhance the "software" in your brain. A new idea, perspective, or mental model can create a transformative click in your thinking.

A good book offers a new way to interpret past experiences. Patrick O’Shaughnessy puts it well: “Reading changes the past. This is important. The past isn’t fixed. A new book often makes you realize something essential about an old book.”

The knowledge gained from books compounds. The more you read, the more you connect the dots between different books. 

Elon Musk describes knowledge as a "semantic tree": understand the fundamental principles (the trunk and big branches) before diving into the details (leaves), so they have something to hang on to.

Your brain will start making connections between seemingly unrelated topics, enriching your understanding. Reading offers the best asymmetry of time-reward: a few dollars and some time can yield life-changing insights.

2. Reading Makes You More Interesting

Most of what we do in life aims to make us more empathetic and engaging with others

Books provide conversational fodder—knowledge, stories, and experiences—that make you more empathetic, amusing, and attractive. Reading enhances your ability to consider and reflect on diverse opinions, even those that seem outlandish.

Reading also improves your communication skills, including vocabulary and writing. The more you read, the better you communicate, leading to better relationships.

3 Reading Opens Windows into Other Worlds

Truly Great Books Transform Lives

Truly great books represent the pinnacle of someone’s life’s work. In just a few hours, you can absorb the top 1% of knowledge on a given topic by reading the right book. No other medium offers such a high signal-to-noise ratio.

A truly great book can change your life. For instance, my perspective on work transformed after reading Deep Work and ReWork.

As Dr. Seuss said:

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Books enable you to see through the eyes of others, akin to having a conversation with the brightest minds in any field.

4. Reading Improves Memory and Concentration

Today, one of the biggest benefits of reading is its ability to improve memory and concentration.

As the world becomes increasingly tech-centric, our ability to concentrate diminishes. A recent study shows that American adults spend over 11 hours per day on their devices, interacting with various forms of media. 

This is up from nine and a half hours just four years ago. We've welcomed all this technology into our lives without questioning its necessity.

Books are the antidote.

Reading requires sustained focus. Your mind must concentrate continuously from page to page, absorbing new information. Reading daily trains your attention muscle and improves your focus.

5. Reading Is the Best Tool to Fight Stress

Books provide a mental escape, transporting you to another reality and offering a break from the real world.

A study found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by 60%, slowing the heartbeat, easing muscle tension, and altering the state of mind. Dr. Lewis explains:

“This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination, as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

Incorporating reading into your nighttime routine can also improve sleep quality. It calms your mind, signaling your body that it’s time to rest.

How to Develop a Reading Habit

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” — Jim Rohn

By following a simple system, you can develop a consistent reading habit and unlock these benefits.

How to Develop a Reading Habit

Now that you understand why you should read more, it's time to get into how to make it happen. This is where many people stumble. We know the benefits, but few of us know how to start and sustain a reading habit.

Here are six easy strategies you can implement right now to help you read more. Each stands on its own, but using them all will yield the best results.

1. Just 25 Pages a Day

The first step to developing a reading habit is to read every single day. This sounds simple, yet few people do it. To read more books, you must make reading a priority.

Most of us get paid to use our brains and knowledge. Reading books offers the best ROI of your time to upgrade your brain.

A simple hack to kickstart your reading habit is to read just 25 pages per day (about an hour for the average reader). This is the minimum amount, not the maximum. After 25 pages, you can either continue reading or do something else.

It's simple: 25 pages a day, every day. That’s it.

This is easy to start and track. The goal is to make reading a deeply held habit. Over time, reading won't feel like something you do but rather something you are.

Takeaway: Read at least 25 pages every day; continue reading only if you want.

2. Read at the Same Time Every Day

To make it easier for a new habit to stick, do it at the same time every day. Reading is no different.

Choose a specific time to read every day. I recommend doing it immediately after waking up. That’s how I started my reading habit. Why?

First, you get a win early in the day. Trust me, it feels good to start the day with a win.

Second, you replace bad habits with good ones. Instead of browsing your phone, you read a book. Kill two birds with one stone.

Finally, this is when you have the most willpower, making it easier to develop a new habit.

If you can’t read after waking up, other good options are early in the morning or just before going to sleep.

Make it easier by placing books on your bedside table. They become the first thing you see when you wake up and the last before sleeping.

Takeaway: Read every day at the same time; the best times are after waking up, early in the morning, and before going to sleep.

3. Use the Habit Sandwich

In "The Power of Habit," Charles Duhigg describes how "Hey Ya!" by OutKast became a hit. Even though it was expected to be a monster hit, listeners initially switched stations when it played. Why?

The song had to be sandwiched between two familiar hits to become accepted. Once it became familiar, it turned into the hit everyone expected.

Use this "sandwich technique" to make reading easier to develop. Place reading between two established habits.

For example, every morning after taking a shower, I had breakfast. I added reading between these routines, making it easier since the other two were already established.

Takeaway: Start reading between two already established habits.

4. Integrate Reading into an Existing Routine

Another great way to develop a reading habit is to make reading your default in already established routines. Simply swap one habit for reading.

For example, I used to play games or browse social media on my phone in the morning. I replaced my phone with a Kindle in the bathroom. Slowly, I began reading every time I went to the toilet. It became my new default: if I go to the toilet, I read.

  • Other ways to use this strategy:
  • Read while commuting to work.
  • Pick up a book during a solo meal.
  • Instead of watching TV when you get home, read in front of the TV.

Takeaway: Make reading your default in established routines, such as going to the toilet or commuting to work.

5. Make Reading Your Go-To for Boredom

If you're waiting for the metro, what do you do? Most people take out their phone and start scrolling.

To develop a reading habit faster, make it your go-to activity when bored. Waiting in line at the post office? Read. Waiting for the bus? Read. Every chance you get.

Always carry a book with you. If carrying a book is too much hassle, use the Kindle app on your phone.

Takeaway: Read when you're bored; always carry a book or use the Kindle app.

6. Find Your Ideal Reading Medium

A few years ago, I attempted to read on an iPad using the Kindle app and found it so off-putting that it took me years to give the Kindle a chance. I was curious about what all the hype was about, but I couldn't bring myself to try it. For me, books were meant to be read on paper, and that was that. Why bother?

However, two years later, I'm convinced that the Kindle played a significant role in my newfound voracious reading habit.

It took me a few days to adjust, but after that, I was hooked. What a magnificent device! In the past two years, I've only read two paper books, both fiction, and both while on vacation.

Today, there are various ways to experience "books": you can read them in physical or digital form, or even listen to them!

If you struggle with reading, perhaps you haven't found the right medium for you. Experiment with different formats to discover what works best for you.

For instance:

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, audiobooks might be the perfect fit for you. Give Audible's 1-month trial a try to see if it suits your taste.

Many people prefer using technology to read books. Start by installing the Kindle app on your phone and tablet to see if you enjoy reading digitally. You could also try using a Kindle device to see if you prefer that experience.

Takeaway: Explore various reading mediums—physical, digital, or audio—to find the one that suits you best.

How to Choose What to Read

“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.” — Charlie Munger

Choosing the Right Books: 3 Tips for Better Reading

Knowing how to read is only half the battle. With countless books available today, it's even more challenging to decide what to read.

That's why the final piece of the puzzle in developing a reading habit is the "what." Once you have a system in place, it's all about selecting the right input—or in this case, the right books.

Here are three tips to help you become better at choosing what to read:

1. Seek Out Better Books

A single book has the power to change your life. But how do you consistently find those transformative reads?

Two simple strategies can help: the "test of time" and seeking recommendations.

The "test of time" is a heuristic to identify great books: if a book has stood the test of time and people still discuss it, chances are it's worth reading. As Naval Ravikant aptly said, older solutions to timeless problems often endure because they've been filtered by generations.

Alternatively, ask close friends or mentors for their top book recommendation. Compile a list from various sources and start there. With limited time for reading, why waste it on anything less than the best?

2. Don't Hesitate to Quit or Skip

Reading should be enjoyable. If you're not enjoying a book, it's okay to quit.

Try this: read the first chapter without feeling obligated to continue. If it doesn't engage you, move on. To make room for more great books, don't hesitate to abandon the merely good ones.

You can apply this rule to other media too. If a movie or TV show isn't entertaining you, switch it off. The same applies to books—quit when they fail to captivate you.

Additionally, don't be afraid to skip sections of a book. If a part seems repetitive or irrelevant, move forward. Capture the main points, and feel free to skip citations. Read only what's necessary.

3. Read with Purpose

Reading for the sake of boasting about how much you read is meaningless. The true power of learning from books lies in applying what you've read.

Select books based on your current learning needs, ensuring you can apply the knowledge you gain. The more specific your focus, the better. Instead of just reading broadly about marketing, choose a book tailored to a particular aspect, like writing business plans.

Read multiple books on the same topic and connect the best ideas. This process helps you develop a unique perspective on the subject matter.


The Blueprint for Cultivating a Reading Routine:

  1. Just 25 Pages a Day: Commit to reading a minimum of 25 pages daily, continuing only if you're inclined to.
  2. Set a Reading Time: Establish a consistent daily reading slot, preferably upon waking, in the morning, or before bedtime.
  3. Habit Sandwich: Integrate reading between existing routines to cement it as a habit.
  4. Incorporate into Routines: Make reading a default activity during everyday rituals like commuting or restroom breaks.
  5. Combat Boredom with Books: Utilize downtime by reading whenever boredom strikes, ensuring you always have a book handy or use digital reading apps.
  6. Choose Your Medium: Opt for the reading format that suits you best: physical books, digital copies, or audiobooks.

In addition to knowing how to read, it's crucial to discern what to read. Ensure you:

  1. Select Superior Books: Utilize the "test of time" principle and seek recommendations from trusted sources.
  2. Be Willing to Disengage: Assess books quickly, continuing only if they capture your interest, and don't hesitate to skip irrelevant sections.
  3. Read with Purpose: Tailor your book choices to your current learning needs, allowing you to apply the acquired knowledge effectively.

With these strategies in hand, you possess all the essentials to nurture a robust reading habit: understanding the importance, implementing the methods, and curating the content.

Now, pick up a book and embark start reading now. Remember, the cost of ignorance is higher than that of a book.

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