The year I returned to reading

I used to love to read as a kid, but then in 6th grade, we had a reading competition against other 6th grade classes from other schools. The winner was the highest avg. page read per student in a class. I’m very competitive so I set out to win. I didn’t understand the power of teamwork and gave up on my classmates’ contributions rather quickly. I took it upon myself to carry the weight. The contest duration was three months, and I was able to read 8750 pages. For every book, we had to write a summary and hand it to the teacher for approval.

I remember my choice of books became quantity over quality rather quickly. To read for the sake of reading made me fed up with it and I pretty much stopped reading between 6th grade and now. And we didn’t even win… The only books I’ve read in the meantime are the super popular ones like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, etc (yes, I was a teenager once). In 2015, I got to know Khe Hy who reminded me about the importance of reading. Then, for Christmas 2015, I rewarded my hard efforts as an entrepreneur with a Kindle. It was the perfect gift and it’s helped me return to the love of reading.

Thanks to Goodreads (and inspiration from Brad Feld’s newsletter), I now know that I’ve read 9 books in 2017 with 2648 pages. It’s only counting finished books, so the number is a bit off as Goodreads can tell me the contribution from the 11 different books I’m currently reading… I’m pretty happy with my numbers despite not having started out with a goal for the year.

My 2017 reading list is a mix of fiction, business, and biography. I find that reading before going to bed has really helped me calm down and sleep better. I’ve also enjoyed much more fiction lately which I like to think helps my imagination and improves my creativity.

My top 3 reads for 2017 are:

  1. The Hate U Give
  2. Ready Player One
  3. The Checklist Manifesto

Why?

The Hate U Give made me both angry and feel like a fool. It also opened up a new perspective on a part of society I’m not familiar with prior. I will be much more aware of my own actions and those around me. It increased my understanding and challenged my prejudice.

Ready Play One gave me back my imagination and got me excited about the future and my profession in the gaming and innovation space. Now, I try to have everyone that has a hard time imagining the future read it. And if you’re looking for a trip down memory lane and were born between 60–80’s, it’s another reason for you to read it!

The Checklist Manifesto spoke to me as a true nerd and systems freak. It helped me validate and improve my todo lists. It also gave me a framework for getting things done.

For 2018, I want to double my reading and reach 5000 pages. I don’t want my goal to be a specific number of books. I want to be able to stop reading a book if I don’t like it 20% into it. I’ll also try to only read 3 books at a time, and rotate between different genres.

There are a few books that are on top of my reading list to complete:

  1. Thinker Toys: My friend David Reicheld has been recommending this book as one of the main inspirations for his breakout hit Color Switch. It’s been on my Kindle for too long. No more excuses!
  2. When Breath Becomes Air: I’ve started it, but not finished it yet. It’s one of the few books I’m reading in a physical form.
  3. Sapiens: The hype is real and I feel like I’m missing out without reading it.

I also like to read book recommendations from others. My reading list is inspired by my co-founder, Tarjei. He is an avid reader and a trusted source. He’s opened my eyes to the Rosie Project (one of my all-time favorites), Ender’s Game, Ready Player One, The Checklist Manifesto and The Hate U Give.

Yet, I’d like to get inspiration from elsewhere to read things that can challenge my views. I’d especially be interested in reading books written by people of a minority background. Please point me in the right direction! Here’s to a reading full 2018 📚🤓


I’m taking on a writing challenge to publish something new every day for a week. If you want to read what’s next, subscribe here, and check out what my partner in crime is writing on her blog. You can also help me figure out what to write about by posting questions in the comments or on twitter.

Thanks to Tiff and Torstein for reading drafts of this post 🙌

Aurora Klæboe Berg

Written by

Interim COO @Medal.tv / Co-Founder & CEO @megacool_co. Previously @DirtybitGames, creator of @TheFunRun (100M downloads). MSc Engineering & Entrepreneurship.

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