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Auditing Your Reading Life
It is more than just more books
People talk about their own and ask about others' work lives, home lives, creative lives, sex lives, fitness lives, etc.
What about your reading life?
I feel like I have a great reading life and I see how I can improve it too. It is great with lots of room for improvement.
How can you improve your reading life?
As the new year beings I’m hearing many people talking about their reading goals for the year. Most structure them using a count of books they’d like to finish by the end of the year. I think this is great, however more isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s just more.
What are some other ways to improve your reading life? To answer this question you have to paint a picture of a really truly great reading life. And you really have to do this for you and you alone, as I assume it’ll be unique to you. Here are some dimensions I think about beyond the simple “books finished this year”:
Do you read where you would like to read? Do you read when you would like to read? For as long or as often? I read mostly on my commute on the NYC Subway. It’s OK. But I romanticize reading mid day in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a shot of espresso and a La Croix and a glass of OJ and a Bloody Mary all sitting beside me with access to a nice and easy bathroom nearby of course.
I read a lot on my iPad for a few different reasons but I’d love to read with a physical copy. Do you read how you would like to read?
Are you reading the kinds of books you would like to read? Are you stuck in a non-fiction loop but see that copy of a Plato dialogue on your shelf from college that you never read and if you did never really understood? Do you avoid certain kinds of books because they are “too hard or esoteric or complex or old or boring” but secretly want to know what they’re all about?
Do you retain or comprehend or attend to as much as you would like to when you do read? Is it in-one-ear-out-the-other even though you read the 25 books last year like you wanted to?
When you eat food you digest the food and your body does something with the food. When you read a book do you digest the book and do something with your takeaways from the book? Would you like to?
This last dimension is what I focus on most in the content I create and in my own life. I think it’s the single best way to improve your reading life and has nothing to do with more. It’s like going for quality over quantity. Writing down your thoughts and answers to questions you encountered while reading or scheduling time to talk about the book with some else who’s read it are both great ways to digest what you’ve read and to greatly improve the quality of your reading life.
To take your first step to improving your reading life consider my Reading Life Audit offering. You pick a timeslot for a 1 on 1 with me. You fill out this form. We talk through your responses in the first half of our 1 on 1 and then we plot out some steps to take to improve your reading life in the second half. What have you got to lose?
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