Some comments are expressing either disbelief that one can read 100 books in a year, or that one would have to read them so fast that one would get nothing useful from them.
In the post, I talk about the importance of varying the difficulty level of what you read.
Of these 100 books, not every one would meet the standard of this community as "difficult" - after all, I read five books in the juvenile/YA category, one of which (Stranger at Green Knowe)I consider in the top 10 books I read all year.
Of the really deep, difficult books, I tended to take a longer amount of time and return to them repeatedly.
For example, Russell and Norvig's "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" was assigned in a grad class. I read it over the course of a semester from January to April (and took multiple tests on it).
Did I get every possible insight from every book I read? Of course not.
Did I get more than if I'd not read them at all? Yep.
They also have a "reading challenge" where you can set a target number of books to read that year (in this case, you could set it to 100).
I use Goodreads due to the social aspect, but I did try LT a while back and it was pretty good.
I have tried using Anki to capture my knowledge, but it's not easy to stick to it regularly, and it may even be an overkill. Two of the reading projects that I wish to complete are Campbell's "Biology" and Myers' "Psychology". These are not difficult books, but tax the memory quite heavily. I have covered significant chunks of both books earlier, only to give up in the middle and move on to the next shiny thing. Next year I wish to resume at least one of them and cover them systematically with the help of Anki until I have truly mastered the content. I don't think you can undertake reading 100 books like these if your intention is to truly imbibe the content and make it available to you in an active form.
Also, some books contain not just information, but skills. Mathematics and programming are more like swimming or riding a bicycle rather than studying History - you are learning to do stuff, not just absorb data. Readings like these where there is significant amount of doing in addition to the reading itself will also be slower than what the post mentions.
I think it's worthwhile to simply be exposed to an idea even if you disagree with it because it may shape how others think. It took me a while to understand that the religious mindset is based on the idea you're accessing a source of truth. I am used the Bayesian mindset of updating probabilities, so it's a very alien mindset.
PS: It's often the little ideas that really stick with you. Legally marketing something as "The Best" is a meaningless statement, so subtracting it from marketing copy is interesting. "These are --- ---- steaks!" Ha Ha, true enough.
Re-reading is always an option as well.
I have this same issue, but the point is not to "have a bigger tree trunk," the point is to "spread your branches further" - if you need to expand upon a single topic further, you can delve into a book you've already again with a pad and pen and start taking real notes, and get similar books to explore the topic further.
As for simply remembering what you've already read is about, I find leaving a quick review on GoodReads takes care of that. I can go back and look over my review when I'm listing books to recommend to people.
I think I might retain only around 10% (if that) of a good book that I read. I wonder if I might have been better off reading just the 10% in the first place (provided I can get the right 10% somehow). You could cover 10 times the number of books at that pace with nothing lost!
Sounds like you might enjoy Blinkist. It’s a paid app that gives you the highlights of a book. I tried it and thought it was interesting, however, I actually enjoy reading entire books. So it felt like I was doing CliffsNotes for stuff I enjoyed reading about. Also, you’re depending on the service to pick out what’s important. What resonates with them vs what resonates with you could be two different things.
I think we get too hung up on trying to wring every last drop out of life. If you like reading, read. The important themes you come across in different books will naturally reinforce and connect amongst themselves.
But I’ve found myself very disillusioned by the reading of books, to the point that I don’t actually do much of it anymore.
I’m too distracted by the fact that it seems pointless. Or I’m dispirited by the thought that to make it not be pointless requires large amounts of school-like study (notes, self testing, regular revision etc.)
I’m not sure what to do about this. I don’t think not reading is a viable life strategy, I just don’t quite get it right now.
I like the idea of these sites, my brother and I have been working on our own version for fun: https://bookbreakdowns.com
But I feel like just trying to write your notes in your own words by memory forces you really to digest the material, and is way more useful than any notes someone else takes. I'll often find that I can't even write down what I just read 5 minutes ago.
For books in general, you might find Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book useful.
For example. I was interested in psychology, this led me to Carl G. Jung, this led me to gnosticism, this led me to Philip K. Dick etc. And now I'm mostly reading his fiction.
This seems like an organic path of discovery, instead of constructing artificial list of possible books that might interest you.
Besides, Arthur C Clarke boasted that the true intellectual reads a book every day :-/
* Don't try to pick/buy a book during your reading time, otherwise you will spend your time deciding what to read. Have a queue of books already bought and ready to go.
* Don't feel bad about skipping around or stopping a book that you aren't getting anything out of
* Buying books is a very cheap investment so I don't worry about the cost or trying to get things from the library. If you take one key idea away from a $15 book, it is well worth the cost.
* Getting recommendations from people is useful, but often there are books that I really enjoy because of the order I read them in or the melding of ideas in two books I am reading at the same time. Context and background do matter so let your own interests guide you.
(Disclaimer: I only read about 30 books per year)
I'd add the following tips
* Don't narrow your focus onto books whose topic you know and are already interested in. If you expand your range to related topics or completely new topics, you'll benefit greatly.
* Don't weigh yourself down with meaty, dense books. Read some lightweight fiction just for the pure enjoyment. I got into reading detective stories a couple years ago and am delighted working my way through authors like Connelly, Grafton, and Parker. There are many more waiting to be explored, as well.
* Make time during your day to do nothing but read. Schedule it like any other activity for which you budget time. Never believe that it is wasted time.
* If you have young children, read to them. I can't stress this enough. Give them a good habit they can follow for the rest of their lives.
I'd appreciate thoughts and additional recommendations!
I'd be interested in a little more rigorous of an algorithm when choosing books to read. Given that, particularly for history books, there are a good deal of "duds" out there, do you have any recommendations for finding books? Like, you said goodreads, but my goodread recommendations are either NYT Top ones (which at one point had 50 shades of grey - not exactly a list guaranteeing quality) or a bunch of "intelligently sourced" recommendations which means entirely YA fiction because that's what half my "read" bookshelf contains (been adding books to goodreads for a while).
By doing this you'll train yourself to associate reading with sleep, and it may get harder and harder for you to stay awake for long after cracking open a book at night.
I would be happy to read a single volume from knuths art of computer programming book per year
Actually I have books that I read in different places. There's a copy of All The Songs (the story of every Beatles song) in the bathroom, for instance. I only read a few pages at a time... which is just fine with me. I wouldn't be inspired to bring that book into the living room. On the other hand, I read cookbooks most often when sitting at the dining room table. (And I read a lot of cookbooks.)
Apart from this setting such goals as 100 books a year is a real killjoy (as if todo lists had not enough items to check off already).
Sure, I can read the 400-page sci-fi novel in about a week, but I recently started to read a history book, and my page reading rate dropped dramatically.
I read every day and I get through probably no more than 1 or 2 books per month. Obviously books can have extremely variable lengths and difficulties, and I would say my average book is probably longer than "average".
You're better off not worrying about how much you read and worrying more about how well you read.
How did you read them? Did you just speed read them all? Some of them (like Anna Karenina) in my opinion deserve months if not years of reflection. It seems like the point was to just get through the books as fast as possible, rather than appreciating the beauty they all offer. But I could be wrong.
I find it kind of pretentious to claim “I have read X number of books in a year”
Trying to read so many books, leaves very little time to contemplate.
So I’m not sure why is there a craze of reading X number of books, and later bragging about it (either literally or by “book-name dropping” in conversations).
I hope there are more readers out there who enjoy slow reading !!
Two caveats being that a) I naturally read pretty fast and b) I'm not trying to reach any given number for the year. I read when I find something interesting
I got an Audible subscription 3 years ago and it has been one of the best investments I have ever made.
Though I don't read fiction this way.
I started off with Audible but their selection is a bit limited, especially for technical books.
How much are you absorbing. How do you define "read" .