I Need to Read More

This one is out of left field, I know, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently.  It is a phrase that almost everyone states or thinks, but rarely acts on.  How many have you said ….”I need to read more.”  Well, over the past few months, I have been trying to act on this phrase a lot more and follow through with the whole reading thing.   This article isn’t rocket science nor am I sharing the secret to investing or life.  I just wanted to share my experience with you and see if you have any tips to help keep me reading at night.

img_20161019_214935237

First, I’ve never really been much of a reader.  When I was younger, I typically read the sports section of the newspaper.  Man could I dissect a box score, tell you about who had the highest batting average, most home runs, and the statistics for every…single…Cleveland Indians player on the roster.   When it came to books though, not so much.  Reading was always a chore to me and it seemed like whatever book I put up never caught my attention.  Instead of continuing to search for something that interested me, I would instead put the book down and move on to something else.   Rather than reading before falling asleep, I opted for watching TV.  At every turn, I typically found something else to occupy my time besides picking up a book.

Like I mentioned in the opening paragraph of the article, as I became older, I would occasionally find myself uttering the phrase “I need to read more.”  The big difference between older Bert versus younger Bert was that I was always willing to commit longer to reading.  Each stint of reading would last one book longer.  Each stint would begin to help me discover a new genre that gripped me.   Each stint, until this year, would end in the same way….an empty promise of reading more and a few more purchased used books that spent more time collecting dust than being read.

This year though, I have given the whole reading thing my best effort.  And I wish I could take all of the credit for this, but my wife played a major role in help by getting me a kick ass wedding gift.   For our wedding, she bought me an Amazon Kindle – Paperwhite and man is that device cool!  My library, like many of yours I’m sure, offers free rentals for a ton of books from every genre imaginable.  It makes discovering new books very, very easy.   One of my issues was always finding a book that would suck me in, so having this kind of easy access to the library has been a game changer for me.

It doesn’t just stop there, finding books that interest me has aided my ability to fall asleep at night and squeeze out a few extra minutes of sleep at night.  We all know that watching TV or reading articles on your phone before sleeping is terrible for you.  There were so many nights where I was on the verge of falling asleep, barely able to pick up my head, only to find myself awake for another hour because I would try to watch just one more show or read just one more article.  When I read before bed though…I am out cold in minutes.   Some nights I read a couple of chapters and some nights I only read a couple of pages.  But I have found myself sleeping better because I have started reading before bed, which was always a huge problem for me.

Oh yeah, did I also mention that you get to learn about a lot of great things while reading?  I figured I would keep this part until the end so I can start telling you about some of the genres/books I have stumbled on recently.   Here are some of the genres that have gripped me and allowed me to learn while flying through the book.

Investing –  Who doesn’t love a book about investing?  Isn’t it appropriate that this is one of my favorite genres?  I haven’t read as many as I should have in this category, so please send me some recommendations for investing books.   When I started investing, Lanny suggested getting as many of “The Little Book Of…” series.  It built a great foundation for investing knowledge as I started building my portfolio.  I’ve read a few Jim Cramer books and several other random books about the topic along the way.   One of the next books in my queue is “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham.

Political Figures – I’ve taken a liking to reading about politicians, whether it is a biography or a book about their policies and what they went through during a period of time.  Right now, I am reading a book about Henry Kissinger and in the past I enjoyed books about various presidents and the policies during their regime.   The people making decision, the thought process behind the decision, and reading all the moving parts of a major decision in the heat of the moment fascinates me.

Musicians – This one surprised me a bit.  My college roommate handed me my first book about a musician and I was hooked.  The book was Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis and it was all about his life and the various struggles he encountered.  What gripped me was the role that  music played in his life and how his songs were filled with hidden meanings about his experiences.  I can’t listen to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song now without thinking about the back story or wondering the hidden meaning in the song.   Honestly though, I’ve only read a few books in this genre, one about Kurt Cobain and one about Jimi Hendrix.  But there are a lot of other musicians out there that I would love to read about.

Bottom line.  I’m really trying to read more.  The benefits are obviously there…no doubt about it.   I feel healthier and have learned a ton.  Have you found yourself in this situation before?  Do you have any advice for me that will hopefully keep me reading versus slipping into my old, bad habits?   Do you have any book suggestions for me?

-Bert

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

25 thoughts on “I Need to Read More

  1. I would check out Kindle Unlimited through Amazon. It is like Spotify but for eBooks. I have one of those really old kindles with the keyboard, and it actually does text to voice. So, I can listen to it during my drive to and from work. I am not sure if the new paperwhites do that or not…

    • I had a free trial of it the first month of my Kindle and it was sweet. I don’t read enough yet to make it worth the cost, so I settled for the free option of renting ebooks at the library. That text to voice is freaking sweet, that would be a sweet feature, especially if it could sync up with your bluetooth. I would be able to fly thought books haha I’ll check if my paperwhite has it and let you know.

      Bert

  2. Uhm totally guilty here. I even set up a goal this year to read more books. I have always loved to read books, even my past and current job is involved with books. The major benefit is that I can read a lot of books for free, because they are available through my work.

    Like moneyAhoy, I’ve noticed that audiobooks are a great way of ‘reading’ while you are commuting, or just have tired eyes. I’ve also joined a bookclub (not so lame as you might think) which we set up with a few colleagues.This way I also read books I would not pick out myself, but actually very nice.

    Reading tip: Think and grow rich

    • I’ll be adding Think and grow rich to my queue. Thanks for the suggestion. Isn’t it funny how we all go through this? I know I’ve read the goal on your blog and always thought it was a cool idea. Sure, dividends are awesome, but it is also a good idea to diversify your goals and try stuff that will make you a better person in other ways.

      I’ve rented books on tape from the library, but it takes the right book for me to do it. Often I am listening to the audiobook in the morning. You know, before my coffee has had the chance to settle in. So it takes a really fascinating story to wake me up enough where I will get the true experience of the audio book. Podcasts have been a great substitute here.

      Book clubs are not lame at all. What kind of books do you read? How do you select the book of the month/week (or however frequently you meet)?

      Thanks for the comment!

      Bert

      • I started reading Napoleon Hills book just now. It seems to basically be about Law of attraction.

        Excerpt:
        “He should have told us that the ether in which this little earth floats, in which we move and have our being, is a form of energy moving at an inconceivably high rate of vibration, and that the ether is filled with a form of universal power which ADAPTS itself to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our minds; and INFLUENCES us, in natural ways, to transmute our thoughts into their physical equivalent.”

        I´m sorry but this is Deepak Chopra level BS. Where is the evidence? How do you measure this universal power?

        Granted, the book claims to be filled with examples of successful men (nope, no women), with stories of how their thoughts gave them success. Survival bias I say to this. For every successful story you would find 100 unsuccessful ones, if they had only been recorded. You can not think yourself to success, is my firm belief. You can make yourself more exposed to strokes of luck, but you would still be susceptible to strokes of bad luck.

        • @Tom, I’ve read the book in Dutch (it might come across differently?), but I think there’s a whole lot more to it than what you describe. In a way I agree, but I also don’t think it has to do with coincidence, but about the choices you make through out life. Just filter it out now and then and it’s perfectly fine to read. But hey, everybody can think differently about it.

          @Bert, we come together once every 2 months. Every one is selecting one book he or she wants to read, and then we vote. For next time we’re reading The lord of the Flies (we were amazed nobody had read it yet).

          It’s crazy that everybody wants to read, but don’t really get around to do it. I started with the book Busy a while ago, but stopped because of a lack of time – how ironic.

          • Woah, that’s deep stuff right there Tom and Divnomics. That’s one of the nice things about people reading the same story…we all interpret things differently. There isn’t a right or a wrong answer 100% of the time.

            Love the concept of a book club. I never read Lord of the Flies either. When I brought this up at work, Lord of the Flies was one ofthe books that everyone said they were forced to read during school. Looks like my school missed this memo haha

            Bert

  3. Yep, found myself saying that 11 years ago and have read almost every day since. In fact, one year I was unemployed and broke during college, I would pretty much do nothing but read and workout all day outside of class (not the healthiest thing to do haha).

    Anyways, I still go through a book a week and maybe more depending the length of what I’m reading. People don’t understand the benefits of reading in the same way that they don’t ‘get’ compound interest. It will literally change every aspect of your life and outlook if you let it. You start to see connections between different books you read and then how to apply them to your everyday world. It’s amazing.

    Reading takes time to develop as a habit, mostly because it isn’t crazy stimulating like our electronic devices, I think. You will feel bored sometimes for whatever reason (some books ARE boring but may still be useful) and you need to condition yourself to push through those feelings and continue on reading. It will get easier. Reading isn’t something I feel like I have to do, it’s just something that I do now. It’s automatic.

    I take my Kindle to the gym and read while doing any non-running cardio, as it’s a great way to get in an hour without noticing the time…this adds up to a lot of pages each week. Also, when I wanted to read the classics, I would download books from librivox.org or from the app I had on my phone and then play them while at the office I was working at. I learned that I could speed up the reading to 1.5-1.6x normal playback and still comprehend everything. On days, where people left me alone, I could get through 2 shorter books while just sitting at work.

    Couldn’t imagine how different my life would be (for the worse) had I never embarked on this reading journey. More recently, I’ve gotten into the finance and accounting books, and I posted about five of those titles earlier in the week.

    • Your second paragraph sums up exactly why I want to read more. There is so much knowledge packed between the covers (or virtual covers) from peoples past experiences, research, etc. It is easy to forget this in an era where if you can’t find the answer in a few minutes online it isn’t worth it or if the article is longer than 5,000 words I’m not wasting my time.

      I think finding books that interest you and lining them up are key to developing the habit of reading. Once you have this habit, you can afford to spend time discovering if a book does or does not interest you. However, if you are one or two books deep in your streak, finding a book that isn’t gripping you can prove fatal to your quest to build repetition. You can’t avoid boring, you are absolutely right by stating that. But until you are in that routine, it is very hard to recover from a bring one. I cannot wait until reading is automatic for me like it is for you.

      Great idea with taking your kindle to the gym. It would be really easy to read while biking/on the elliptical too. I’m just picturing this. Read a page…ten reps….read another page…ten more….you get the idea.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and inspiring me to keep on grinding and reading. What have been some of your favorite books??

      Bert

  4. I’ve been in the same boat before and I’m sure I’ll be there again in the future. I go through waves of reading consistently and then something will come up and it’ll be a busy week or whatever and I take a week off or so and that crushes my reading. Growing up I never really got into any of the books that we had to read in school, actually I think I only read 2 books for my English/LA classes in high school. I just couldn’t get hooked like I hear so many people talking about. Since graduating college though I’ve swapped over to reading all non-fiction about a whole variety of topics and I get into them so much quicker. Some of them are hard reads because they were obviously written by someone that doesn’t have the entertainment mindset. I really admire the non-fiction writers that can make an otherwise drab subject into an entertaining read.

    One of the biggest reasons to read is to learn. If you don’t believe me maybe two of the richest guys in the world (Gates/Buffett) carry some more weight. Both of them were asked while at Nebraska State a decade or so ago “If you could pick one superpower, which would you choose?”

    Gates: Being able to read super fast.
    Buffett: I’ve probably wasted 10 years reading slowly

    Both of those guys see the power in reading and constantly learning so maybe they’re on to something.

    • JC,

      Sounds like we share a similar pattern, although I haven’t had as many successful runs reading as you have. If you couldn’t tell by the genres I have taken a liking to, I am a fan of non-fiction. I always thought reading about someone or an event would be boring, until I realized how many different angles and viewpoints there were to each perspective. Once I found that, I started to grow to enjoy non-fiction pieces a lot . There will always be a time and a place for a great fiction novel, but most of my reads are of the non-fiction variety.

      I freaking love those quotes. Never heard them before. I think that is the best selling point for why I need to read more haha

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      Bert

  5. I love my kindle and read pretty much every night. It’s real nice and convenient to have 40 books in the palm of your hand. I read mainly sci-fi/fantasy/historical fiction but do like some non-fiction every once in a while. I try to read a few investing books a year but most of the time i actually buy the physical copies of those books because sometimes I like to revisit a certain page or table or graph and I find that easier when I have the book in hand versus via the kindle.

    • Timeinthemarket,

      The amount of novels you can read without ever stepping foot in a library or bookstore is mindboggling to me. Fair take on the physical book. That’s the issue with renting the ebook from the library. Once it is gone….it is gone. I still do read physical books from time to time and love visiting book sales to see how many good titles I can get for a cheap price.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Bert

  6. Reading is cumulative, just like dividends! Everything I read helps build on things I’ve read previously. I never actually had a problem reading, but I did find I would read superficially. What I’ve started doing is buying the hardback copies of books I’m interested in and making notes while I read them. It makes me concentrate on them a little more and I find I get a bit more out of some of the meatier books I’ve read.

    Having said that, I have a kindle as well and use it to read non-fiction. I love being able to read during my commute – its a good way to get some pages in!

    Here’s an excellent book list with some investing titles and some others that people might find interesting:
    http://investorfieldguide.com/bookclub/ . I love how varied the siggestions on his list are.

    • Love the comparison to dividends ADI. Like the idea of taking notes. Much like with schoolwork, the act of writing is powerful, helps drill the point home, and increases the retention rate of the newly acquired knowledge. I wish I was able to read during a commute, but I have two factors against me. I drive to work so I am limited to audio books or podcasts. SEcond, if I did take a train to work, I have motion sickness problems that would prevent me from reading on a jerky train.

      Thanks for the resource. that’s a really cool website that should help me find some gems. I just opened the reading list now!

      Bert

  7. I love your reasoning for wanting to read more. I read TONS every year, but the content is changing. At first it was just news, now it’s a huge amount of different things. Investing, business, news, reddit, novels etc. It’s good 🙂

    Tristan

    • Tristan,

      It is good to be diversified with your topics. I’m sure only reading about one type of topic can lead to burnout, which just accelerates the cycle of starting to and then eventually stopping to read. Feel free to throw some suggestions my way!

      Bert

  8. I was a lot like you and was never much of a reader when it came to books. I liked reading articles but couldn’t persevere through a book. After finding out about the benefits of reading longer pieces of writing I set myself a goal to read books at the start of the year. Happy to say it’s going way better than I expected it to 🙂
    I love my kindle too! My husband bought me the kindle paper white for my birthday and it’s really helped me out with my reading goals. You are lucky that your local library allows you to borrow ebooks that are kindle compatible. Mine doesn’t unfortunately but I have managed to get several free books through the bookbub website.
    Good luck with your reading and keep persevering with it. Even if you can read for 10min in a day it’s better than nothing. It’s great that’s it’s helping you sleep better too.

    • Like you, reading more books will be one of my goals for 2017. Hopefully I can emulate your success haha It is strange that your library won’t allow ou to borrow. I take it for granted and just assumed this was offered everywhere.

      Thanks for the awesome comment!

      Bert

  9. Hey Bert, I have been there at the start of this year. Reading has changed my lifestyle as well and learning more insight about finances. I found the best way to keep reading is to put yourself on a time limit and increase it as you read more. And I would suggest reading the Millionaire Next Door, Smart Couples Finish Rich and Buy-Ology. All great reads! Good luck.

    • Interesting idea. I’ll have to give that a shot. A casual half hour here…an hour there. I could see how that would be a good idea and help you focus for a short burst of time versus daydreaming over a long period.

      And thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be adding those to the list and hopefully can check out a couple from my library soon. Appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment!

      Bert

  10. Hey Bert, great post! I bought a kindle for my girlfriend a couple of months ago, and she hasn’t been able to put it down! Definitely one the best “investments” I ever made… now I just find myself wishing I had one too. Reading has been a huge source of joy for me ever since I left college and reading was no longer an obligation. Though reading about finance all day certainly didn’t suck… A book I just read that has absolutely NOTHING to do with personal finance/investing is called “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s a human history book thats super entertaining, very accessible, and what’s most important: INFORMATIVE! If you get a chance and you want to get away from all the money stuff (though why would you… 😉 check it out!

    • Thank you so much Paul! I’m glad you were able to snap the “reading is a chore” phase of your life and move on to really enjoying it. I’m hoping to get there soon too (but TV can just be so much fun to watch sometimes haha). I’m always looking for non-finance suggestions. Sometimes I just need something different. Plus, I’ve never read a human history book before. Who knows if that will spark some interest of mine that I didn’t know I ever had.

      Thanks for the great comment and the suggestion!!

      Bert

  11. I love reading books. I even have a section on my site about books i read. Check it out.
    The litlle book serie is a good start.
    Just go for it!

    Cheers,
    Pollie

  12. Two investing books I’ve recently enjoyed: “The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins and “The Education of a Value Investor” by Guy Spier. Two different approaches, lots of nuggets to be gleaned from each. In between them I enjoyed some good Chick Lit 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *