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Anna Buianova
Anna Buianova

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How to read more books 📚

[Image credit - pixabay]

In part 1 of these series, I shared my experience on how I've started to read software development books on a regular basis.

In this post, I would like to share what helps me to find time and motivation to read.

Find out if you really need it at the moment

Reading technical books requires time and mental energy, especially if the topic is new to you and/or you read in a foreign language. Sometimes it's more valuable to have more practice or incorporate other learning styles in your schedule. Maybe you just have other priorities in life at the moment, and that's ok.

If you choose to start reading more:

Set a quantifiable goal

The first thing that worked for me was setting a goal. First, it was 10 pages a day. That's not much, but still, you can read a book in 1 to 2 months this way, which already brings a lot of value. Even 5 pages a day will make a difference.

Though I admit that it usually takes me more than 5 minutes to read and comprehend 5 pages. You can also use a time goal, e.g. 30 minutes a day, it will allow having a more predictable schedule.

Schedule a specific time to read

I found that it's most effective for me to read in the morning before starting to work. However, it affects my productivity during the day, I can achieve more if I start working right after finishing my morning routine without reading. But sometimes it's still worth it, I try to alter my schedule a bit every once a while.

Many people find it convenient to read while commuting or when they have small pieces of time, like while waiting in a queue. Personally, I find it much harder to concentrate in such circumstances, so I prefer reading books by the computer. This way it's easier to focus, take notes or try out the code. When I have several spare minutes, I'll rather read a blog post. Sometimes I can only afford to read in a distracting environment or right before sleep, and it's still better than nothing.

Participate in a book club

It may be hard to find a relevant one or organize it. But if you do, it will be a huge motivation to keep reading. Discussing helps a lot with comprehension and remembering what you've read.

Track the books you've read

I like keeping the lists of books I've read and that I plan to read, it kind of helps me to read more.
I still can't choose between Goodreads and Livelib [ru], and use both of them.

Please, share what helps you to read tech books.

Discussion (13)

glennmen profile image
Glenn Carremans

I have a reading goal of 5 books this year (last year 2) and am currently reading my 3rd book this year.
Even though Goodreads feels old and "slow" I can't find anything else that is similar and provides the same massive database of books.

lightalloy profile image
Anna Buianova Author

Great goal! I've seen most people set goals like 50 books which seems unrealistic to me. I used to set goals too (15-20 books a year including non-tech ones), but this year I decided to go goalless to finish larger books without worrying about the goal and to spend more time writing.

benyou1969 profile image
Mansour Benyoucef ☕

I had a problem when I start reading pdf books, I was very excited to start reading a new book and try to discover it and take down notes as possible as I can and that have led me to read more than 15 pages per day and some days none, but now I also try to use the same tips that you are using (read only 10 pages every day at noon and stop after)...

lightalloy profile image
Anna Buianova Author

I have heard of a tip related to work or study overall that we should stop working when we want to do a bit more of it for better productivity in the long term and avoiding burnout. The consistency is also really important, so limiting the number of pages but doing it regularly makes sense!

jwood803 profile image
Jon Wood

One thing that's helped me get a ton of reading in is to try to always carry a book with you. Especially when you know you'll have to do some waiting such as when going to an appointment. Even if you only get a page in that's still a page more than you had :)

lightalloy profile image
Anna Buianova Author

I use this as well but it works better with non-technical books for me :)

janis_t profile image
Yanis • Edited on

Sorry, I run this modestly popular webapp for readers, you might wanna give a shot. You can think of it as a goodreads but without all the social crap. So you can track what you read and plan, organize, set reading goals and keep private notes.

full_stackgeek profile image
Full Stack Geek

Although I am a regular reader, would be following the pieces of advice given here... thanks for writing :)

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

I think reading while your travelling is an awesome time to read.

drozerah profile image

Do not confuse quality and quantity ! ;)

lightalloy profile image
Anna Buianova Author

Agree! For me it was initially "how to read more (than nothing.:). I'm preparing a third part on how to get more value from reading.