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.
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?