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8 Steps on How to Read 1 Book Per Week

  1. Use your phone. 
  2. Use elevator time.
  3. Build a reading list.
  4. Set up a timely goal. 
  5. Set up a daily goal. 
  6. Get to know yourself.
  7. Organize your book notes.
  8. Apply what you’ve learned.

In 2023, for the first time, with deliberate intent, I tried to increase my book reading amount. I set an ambitious goal to see how much I could push myself to the limits. It was only later, after the fact, when I finished my reading experiment, and started writing about this topic did I come to find out that it was already a huge movement among avid readers; popularized by big names such as, of the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk.

At the same time, I was trying a personal experiment to see what the actual benefits were to increasing reading consumption. The experience was a definite eye-opener to say the least, and my knowledge base has grown in leaps and bounds, in all various directions. Several mental barriers and limited beliefs were broken. It was a massively impactful transformative experience. That I wish upon even for the worst of my enemies. That’s why for 2024, I have doubled my goal to reading 100 books.

So how do I do it? Let me share you how:

1.Use your phone

Your smartphone is going to be the best tool, because it is the only tool that stays with you anywhere and everywhere at all times. Right up to before you turn off the lights and even when nature calls. And for all those “old-school” p*ssies who b*tch and complain that phone reading is bad for their eyes and they prefer reading paper books you can all go f*ck yourselves. You seemed totally fine watching YouTube videos in the dark before going to bed, and even while you were taking a sh*t. And now your eyes hurt? You’re just like those people who complain about sparkling water.

If you’re unwilling to be moved to use the most logical and practical tool for your success and future, you might as well go f*uck yourself and go back to watching YouTube videos.

2.Use elevator time

I also like to call it TikTok Time or for those who never hopped on the TikTok bandwagon like me, YouTube Shorts time. 

If you have time to consume Shorts, you have enough time to read. Use the small bits of time throughout our daily life to read a couple lines.

Some of my favorite usages of time is when I am:
– Standing on escalators. 
– Waiting for the elevator.
– Taking the subway.
– Sitting in a cab.
– Waiting for my food.
– Standing in line.
– Drinking coffee.

Basically anytime I am waiting for something or someone I start reading. We all have the same habit of turning on our phones when we need to wait, so it will be an easy habit for anyone to pick up quickly.

3.Build a Reading List

For those who are seriously considering doing this reading challenge, you probably already have your own reading list ready. If you don’t have a reading list, it’s time to make one!

Start making a list of all the books you’ve been wanting to read but never got around to. Reading doesn’t always have to be about learning and trying to get something out of it. That’s the best part of reading. You can also use it as a source of entertainment. Just like how I use YouTube to fulfill not only my educational purposes(#youtubeuniversity), but also for pure entertainment as well.

If you need help making a list, you can first start by looking at the top best sellers of the chosen topic you wish you learn more about. I’m a bit wary of only relying on platform recommendations because I have no way of knowing if the rankings are purely authentic or slight manual tampering.

ChatGPT is the perfect auxiliary tool for this. I love to use ChatGPT for procuring a list of reading books. Before GPT came out, I used to open tens of tabs to conduct a ranking of the top books’ popularity, its frequent mentionings, and considering the individual rankings in numerous listings on other blogs.

I had a success rate of roughly around 10%. Meaning, 1 out of 10 books of the list I made were influential, beneficial, or left me an impression in some way that prompted me to write notes on it. 

After using GPT for the task of recommending books to me, it has helped me increase my success rate very significantly. I’d  say the number is close to around 30~50% success rate now. Meaning every 2 to 3 books is a winner.

The prompt I use goes something like this:

Imagine you have to give a TED talk about (topic). It goes without saying that you have to show everyone you are a professional, an expert in the field, and a global thought leader. You only have one month to prepare reading up on this topic. You have the ability to read 10 books within that time frame. You are a complete novice with absolutely no background. Make a list of 10 books considering all reviews, cites, popularity, and applicable knowledge(you are most advised to search the internet to provide the most recent stats). Rank them in how you would read them in order from basic to advanced. Also include three honorary mentions that would be the best supplementary reading material.

4.Set up a timely goal.

How many books will you read in one year? Then reverse engineer that number to find the monthly, weekly, and daily goal. 
For example, last year my goal was 52 books a year, 1 book per week, and that was an average of 100 pages per day. I didn’t have to consciously have to strive for it because I already had a habit of reading every day.
So to challenge myself for this year(2024), I’ve doubled the number to 100 books. This equates to roughly 8 books per month, 2 books per week, and about 200 pages per day.
*It’s been about 3 months into my 100 books/year and I feel confident I will reach my goal. I might have to raise the bar again for next year. At my current ability I think a 50% increase to about 150 books might be the sweet spot for me. Not too little, and not too daunting. Just enough deviation to feel slightly uncomfortable.

5.Set up a daily goal.

You’ve already calculated your daily pages goal. If you’re still unsure, look at the average total number of pages in your reading list. Depending on how many books you have to read on a weekly basis just divide that number by how many days you plan to read in a week. I recommend you read every day using those small bits of time, or block out a daily reading time such as before going to bed or right after your morning coffee.

The next thing you want to calculate is how long does it take to read those pages. So you’ll also want to set up an actual daily timer. (This is why I recommend using your phone because it will automatically record the time for you. Also you don’t have to carry a pen to highlight all the time. Let alone having to carry the book with you)

Last year I set my timer for 1 hour a day. This year I doubled the time because I doubled the goal, but realized there was no need because I got better at reading. So after several weeks of observing this, I reverted back to my daily 1 hour.

You will have reached your daily goal when you hit either the daily reading time or page count goal. It’s great to keep consistency at the beginning so try to rack up those streaks on your phone app. Sometimes I don’t even reach my daily reading goals. Life happens. Sometimes I don’t even want to read. So sometimes I reach my daily reading goal by using that time for book notes taking. My conscious is saved since I at least achieved my daily reading time. In some cases I go over the daily goal and it gets carried over the next day. Pace yourself. This is not a race, it’s a marathon.

6.Get to know yourself

The most important thing is to get a stable rhythm going. Which means anything that prevents you from continuing your flow is an obstacle. Experiment with different genres and schools of thought.

Initially, I started gaining a love for reading through reading comic books and novels. Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, and Tintin were my childhood. This is also when I started to hate Mondays, and healthy liking of comedy and sarcasm. When I was young, my mother would take me and my sister to the local public library every week after Sunday school. She would always buy me a Mcdonald’s meal(McSpicy Chicken Sandwich meal; it is still my favorite Mcdonald’s hamburger to this day). 
I once heard a wives tale that Jews used to teach their babies to like the Tanakh(acronym name of their holy bible); by lathering honey onto laminated sheets of scriptures. The babies would lick the paper and would associate reading the bible as a delicious and happy experience.

Getting to know your taste in books is exactly the same as exploring your taste for food. You may have an inclination towards a certain cuisine but unless you try it you’ll just never know. Also different restaurants and the individual chefs themselves cook different styles as well. Just consider that there are several influential variables and not just the subject matter.

For me, I like to read several books at the same time. (I’m pretty sure I don’t have ADHD, but never got myself diagnosed, so who knows?) I usually come to a comfortable number of around five books. Maybe it’s my slight ADHD, but hyper-focusing on one book at a time is utterly boring for me. It’s a habit I have carried since I was a little boy. I would borrow 7 books a week (that was the limit) consisting of novels, comic books, and fantasy books. I was reading Harry Potter in the 2nd grade, and was reading Eragon, Ender’s Game, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Lord of the Rings by 5th grade.
*My school put me and a few kids on a fast track called “gifted resources” because the normal curriculum was insufficient to challenge us, and we would end up “not following directions”. They were in a tough spot because we had already completed the work by the time she was done explaining the task.
So the school put us all in a classroom and their objective was to stump us. Most of our time was spent reading middle school level literature, mathematics, and science. And a shit ton of homework. 
Mind you, I moved to the US with my mom and was put in ESL(English as a second language) classes for two years. Genius? Definitely not. Smart? Nah. I’ve met some smart kids in my life. I do not compare to their level of intellect and brain movement. I may not be smart, but I am not stupid.

At this point in my life, I do not enjoy reading fantasy or novel books. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading a good science fiction story. I have tried several times, but each time I feel an enormous guilt that I could be using the same time actually learning something that is practical and applicable in my life. I probably will pick up reading sci-fi again, but FFF.

So get to know yourself and your style and preference of reading. 
8 questions you can ask yourself:
– Which time of the day is the best time I can focus?
– What time of the day is the best time to organize my book notes?
– How many books do I feel comfortable reading simultaneously?
– How many books of the same topic can you read before I feel bored?
– What style of writing do I like?
– Who are my favorite authors?
– What genre?
– What do I want to get out of reading or this specific book?

7.Organize your notes

I forget most of everything that I have ever read. Of course the bits of knowledge and the feeling of inspiration and insight stick with me, but the majority of the details always elude me. This is why I started to highlight phrases and sentences that I would like to remember. After completing the book, I will review the highlights. If I deem it worthy enough, then I make notes. Not all books are worthy to be remembered.


Go back and review your highlights. Which books deserve your extra time to make notes on them? Which books are worthy of you? Which books offered you knowledge and insight that you never want to forget? Which books will continue offering you wisdom?

So go back and make book notes out of all your highlights. You are building your own personal library, a lifetime of book notes to help you save so much time because you will never have to reread another book in your life again. Personally, I like using Obsidian. Before that I was using Notion. And now I use WordPress to blog and to share with all.

8.Apply what you’ve learned

It would be a complete waste if you didn’t apply what you’ve learned. What’s the point of learning if you’re not going to use it? Who in the right mind spends time learning something they are not going to use anyway?

I recall an anecdote of someone who once said, ‘the easiest way to see if someone will succeed in life is watching how fast they are able to apply what they’ve newly learned in their lives’. Basically a go-getter mentality. It reminds me of the pioneer spirit, the entrepreneurial mind, the fast-learners. We’ve all heard of countless gurus and coaches touting the benefits of the ‘do it now’ mindset, so I’ll refrain myself.

So there you have it. Now you have a step by step guide to becoming a professional reader. What is the ONE thing anyone can do to guarantee success? It’s reading.
The majority of people do not have a mentor to lift them up. The vast majority of people were not born with a silver spoon. And most people were not given the best education. 
They say it’s not what you know, but who you know. But who do you know? You know nobody. Then you might as well start with the what.

What? Did you really think you can be rich and successful knowing nothing? Stop kidding yourself. If you’re not growing, you’re going backwards because everyday someone is surpassing you.

We need teachers and mentors to guide and stand on the shoulders of giants. For normal people like us, the closest thing to a mentor are books.

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