Readin’ Ain’t Never Done Nothin’ To Hurt Nobody

6 Tips on Making the Most Out of Your Reading

I write when I’m inspired and I must admit that I found myself less than inspired about what this month’s eNewsletter topic would be. Then it dawned on me, as I was reading a great book (while waiting for a haircut) that I should write about reading great books. Why? Because books have had a profound impact on my life and business. I’ve noticed, that when some of the most successful people are interviewed, they have something in common – They’ll often share that they watch little or no TV and they read lots of books.

Reading Just One Book Per Year Puts You in the Top 20% of U.S. Readers*
Admittedly, I wasn’t much of a reader until I hit my 30’s. Now my challenge is that I’m purchasing books from faster than I can read them. People are always asking me which books I recommend – I’ve created a page on my web site to recommend my favorites (we’re talking non-fiction; mostly business development or personal development). Although all of what I’ll share with you here applies to all types of reading and any genre.

1. “I want to read more, but I just can’t find the time”
I’ve found that no matter how busy I am, there’s always time to squeeze in some excellent reading. Here are some ideas you can apply right away:

  • WaitingTurn waiting time into reading time. We’re all made to wait, probably more often than we’d probably care to realize – Doctor’s/dentist’s offices, the DMV, auto repair shops, hair salons, restaurant waiting areas, metro/bus/train stations, airports, airplanes, etc.
  • Get ‘em on CD. Most great books are available on CD (or MP3), which means you can listen to them while in your vehicle/traveling. I don’t do a ton of driving and I’m still amazed at how quickly I can make it through an entire book on CD. Each time I start my car, there’s my book, picking up right where it left off. It’s even a built-in stress reliever – I really don’t mind traffic anymore, it just means more time to enjoy my book. And it helps me get to the next book that much quicker.

2. Ask for Recommendations
People love being asked to recommend books. It makes them feel smart, important and valued. Of course you’ll want to consider the source. Ask like-minded successful people about their favorites inside of a particular genre and you’ll find no shortage of recommendations.

3. Replace Your 11 O’clock News
Old TVHave you noticed how negative the news can be? It always amazes me that so many of us would want to fill our heads with all of this negativity just before going to sleep (or trying to go to sleep). It has been said that while you sleep, your mind will marinate on what you allowed in just before you fell asleep. Why not focus on something positive, upbeat, inspirational, promising? A great book! When was the last time you referred to the 11 o’clock news, using any of those adjectives?

4. Keep a Highlighter On Hand
I’ve noticed several benefits to highlighting remarkable statements in my books, not the least of which is that doing so helps me remember those statements. When something really resonates with you, highlight it. When you return to a book to refresh your memory, finding your favorite points and golden nuggets will be a snap. This will also give you something (or many things) interesting to discuss in your book club…

5. Start or Join a Book Club
Book ClubA friend and I decided to start our own book club. We realized it would be a great way to gain others’ perspectives and to revisit our favorite parts of a book. We decided to focus on books about personal/business development and asked four other friends (avid readers of the same material) if they’d be interested in meeting regularly. All four said yes and we now meet every three weeks for 90 minutes. In-between meetings, we all find ourselves looking forward to the rich conversations. Can you see the benefits of joining a book club, or even starting one of your own?

6. Pay Them Forward
I feel the worst thing you can do with a great book is to leave it sitting on a shelf for years, collecting dust. Why not share it with others? I was recently chatting with a man who was complaining about his extensive collection of books and the hassle of moving them from home to home every few years. I shared my theory and he agreed. He now keeps half-a-dozen books in his trunk, ready for ‘distribution’ – a lunch conversation will remind him of a particular book and he’ll say, “There’s something I want you to have; want to loan you.” After lunch, it’s off to his car for that special gift.

Consider keeping a list of your favorites in your PDA/cell phone/day planner/etc. You might decide to post your favorites to a page on your web site.

*Source: Jenkins Group Survey

For a list of books I highly recommend, visit:

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  1. Hey Steve,

    Another great article, thanks so much for keeping in touch, and love the blog!
    Last night, I was digging back into 4 hour Work Week, great stuff we need to chat about…

    Take care, see you soon!


  2. Steve –

    Thanks again for another great newsletter !
    I really liked the idea of posting recommended books (or movies, merchants, etc) as a “helpful link” on a website.

    You deliver the goods and spread out the meal.

  3. Love the newsletters Steve. They’re straightforward, informative and fun. I can relate to everything in you said. In particular, I’m gonna take you recommendation and cut out the 11 o’clock news. Keep up the great work and THANKS!

  4. Your kind words and encouragement mean a lot. Here’s wishing all of you the very best in 2009!

  5. Well said! I’m up to 4 for the year so far and can’t imagine life without reading. Why not learn for the successes and failures of others?

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