Khatz over at ajatt.com has posted an excellent article called “12 Common Reading Mistakes You’re Making That You Need to Stop Making if You Want to Be Thin and Pretty Like Me.” Just looking at the title and the summary jolted me into re-reading the Japanese book that has been lingering in my man-bag. Here’s the helpful snippet:
Stop trying to read in massive chunks of time Most of life is waiting. Most of life is disjoint snippets of time: two, three, five minutes here or there. That’s when you read. Stop trying or waiting for some golden multi-hour block . . .
I think that my problem with reading is that I tend to see reading as a marriage til death do us part kind of process. Probably what might be most helpful is to adopt a philandering, slightly-abusive role model towards books:
- Read more than one book at a time. I have light books for taking on the train, heavy books like Zen and the Art of Making a Living that I work through pages at a time, and books that are pleasing but sufficiently unexciting for right before bed.
- Graffiti and abuse certain books. Yeah, get all juvenile delinquent on some of your books. Some books have been untouched on my shelves for years, and now I am getting use value from them by writing on them, dog-earring the pages, and just making sure that I’m not reading passively. My music theory book has gotten and will get the most abuse.
- Read for free until you don’t. I just recently got a kindle. It’s so easy to sample books and eventually I end up buying something and supporting authors. Just skimming and sampling seems to be good for my brain. I’m out there searching for good ideas. As of two days ago, I just discovered reading “on the cloud.” It is so nice to be able to jump into a book from the computer, to the iPad, to the iPhone.
- Quick and dirty. Slow and savor the flavor. It’s all good. There are so many ways to enjoy reading. Skip pages. Read the end first. (I used to read history books that way.) Read the first sentence of each paragraph until you hit something good. I recently read Guitar Zero that way. Enjoy all the positions.
Most importantly, have fun. Ironically, this is one of the key messages of the Japanese book that I am reading, 情報量が１０倍になるNLP速読術 (Increase Your Information Rate 10 Times Through the NLP Speed-Reading Method). There’s a lot of NLP talk about “anchoring” and “filtering” in this book. Basically, when we have negative thinking towards reading we become less efficient
in retaining information and even continuing to read.
The book includes exercises on getting in the right frame of mind to enjoy reading, but it’s also important to change the way we read in order to continue to read. There’s no one way. You are not contracted to any book. Speed date. Skip lines. Pick them up off the street. Have fun. 🙂
I really enjoyed that Khatz post too, and this is a really useful extension, especially when it comes to reading in a foreign language, when it can get really tedious if you're in the 'death do us part' mindset…