Why I Love Reading Real Books

Books are a gateway to deeper knowledge and a way to dive into areas unrelated to my job.

I read books primarily to learn, grow, and feed my curiosities. Pexels

I read a new book every 2 weeks or so, which adds up to about 25 books per year.

As a rule, I always read at least few pages every day. Often it is a lot more than that. I squeeze reading in whenever I can — primarily weeknights before bed and then throughout the weekend.

Of course this pales in comparison to some notable voracious readers, such as Bill Gates (50+ books per year) and Warren Buffett (500+ pages per day).

I read books primarily to learn, grow, and feed my curiosities. This means that I mostly read non-fiction books about my passions of personal development, healthy lifestyle, and business/marketing.

While I certainly learn every day on the job, books are a gateway to deeper knowledge within my profession and a way to dive into areas unrelated to my day job.

My personality is best-suited to deep exploration of a limited number of subjects, rather than casually flipping from topic to topic. Therefore I greatly prefer reading full books over magazines, online articles, or any other type of micro-content. I highly respect the amount of time and expertise it has taken an author to research and craft a 200+ page book, and I relish the process of immersing myself in that one area for an extended period of time.

Since knowledge is my primary reason for reading books, I always read with a pen in hand so I can underline key passages as I go. Then, after finishing each book, I go back through the underlined sections and manually write out a ‘one-pager’ of my key takeaways in a notebook. I have been doing this for the past five years, which means I now have well over 100 one-page summaries of the books I’ve read. This makes it easy and convenient to go back and reference the points that resonated with me most.

I always feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment after finishing the three-step process of reading, underlining, and transcribing these one-pagers. It is at that point that I feel truly ‘done’ with a book and ready to move on to the next one.

This amount of effort might seem crazy to some people, especially since I am not being paid and nobody is asking me to do it. But reading books in this focused manner gives me so much joy precisely because it is what I want to be doing. Even after a long work day, I find it energizing to take on this additional learning during my ‘down’ time, because it is how I choose to spend the time.

I have found that there are typically one or two brilliant nuggets from each book that stand out from the rest, and those key insights often serve as the basis for my articles. Reading therefore not only fulfills my interests, but also serves as a springboard for sharing what I learn. I figure if these insights help me, they likely will help others as well, especially for people who do not have the time to read as many books as I do.

I always read real, physical books — I don’t own a Kindle, Nook, or any other type of e-reader. I spend most of my work day in front of a computer screen, so I choose to be digital-free during my reading time. Holding and reading a book relaxes and invigorates me — and it is one of the few activities that can cause me to totally lose track of time.

Some of my best days have been spent reading and writing, oftentimes in a book store or coffee shop (and disconnected from the internet and social media). While I certainly appreciate the convenience and cost-savings of Amazon, nothing beats the physical browsing and shopping experience of a real book store (and I’m clearly not alone, as evidenced by Amazon now opening physical locations).

I also make sure to read books to my children every night, in hopes of turning them into lifelong readers.

In case you are wondering, here are some of my favorite books:

Personal Development, Productivity, Healthy Lifestyle

Business and Marketing

If you are looking for additional reading inspiration, here are the Top 10 Business Books of 2016 as well as a few other top lists for 2017:

Happy reading!

Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his e-mail list at andrewmerle.com and follow him on Twitter.

Why I Love Reading Real Books