How to Read More Books When You Don’t Have More Time

This helped me start reading 100 books a year

Jeff Goins
Jul 16, 2016 · 5 min read

As a writer, I love books. They are fuel for any creative idea or pursuit I have. Quite simply, reading helps me do what I do much, much better. But books cost both time and money.

Wouldn’t it be great, though, if they didn’t? I don’t meet a single person who tells me they wouldn’t like to read more (I’m sure those people exist, I’ve just not met them). Everyone wants to read more but feels they don’t have enough time or simply can’t afford it.

I felt this way for long time. Intuitively, I knew, as a writer, I needed to be reading more, but with a job and a growing family, having time to read was rare. When a block of time did open up, I was too exhausted to pick up a book, and if I did, I quickly fell asleep.

Today, things are different, much different. In the past couple years, I’ve read literally hundreds of books — and average of two books per week, a rate I’m gradually increasing to what will hopefully become a book a day.

How did I start reading and learning more — two habits that have made me smarter, better, and happier, not to mention that have made me a lot of money?

Simple: audiobooks.

We all know books are an incredible investment in your continued education, personal growth, and awareness of the world around you. But most people have little time to crack open a book. As much as I love to read, I was finding as a new dad and husband that it was increasingly difficult to find extra time to do much of anything. What was the first thing to go? Sadly, reading.

Then I discovered audiobooks (disclosure: I’m a big fan of Audible and recommend them as an affiliate). A friend recommended I try Audible, so I signed up for a free trial.

As I began listening to audiobooks, I was amazed at how many books I could get through: First, it was one a month. Then, it was one a week. Now, it’s several books a week, and my goal is now a book a day.

Why audiobooks?

Audiobooks are an easy way for you to start reading more books on a regular basis for as little as $15 a month on a site like Audible. Of course, you can also go to your local library and get audiobooks for free or try any number of audiobook sites that have a number of public domain books and classic works of literature available for free.

Some people don’t think listening to a book is the same as reading it. But I don’t buy that. The point of a book is get the information into your brain, and I retain just as much from listening to a book as I do reading it, sometimes more.

Personally, I love audiobooks, for a few reasons:

#1. They make nonfiction easier to consume.

It’s an easy way to download the information in a book quickly. It’s like a low-cost course delivered directly to you.

#2. They make fiction more entertaining.

It’s affordable, high-quality entertainment. Some of my favorite audiobooks are novels, including many classics that have been recently re-done on Audible (I highly recommend the recent version of The Great Gatsby narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal, which was incredible and honestly the first I’d read it).

I especially love getting to hear an author I respect like Malcolm Gladwell or Seth Godin reading their own books. It’s amazing to hear how the author intended their books to be read. This is why if you listen to any of my audiobooks, you’ll hear that I’m the one narrating them. I just think it makes for a better reader experience (the exception to this would be fiction unless the author is also an excellent voice actor).

#3. They make it easier to read more.

In some cases, I will buy every version of a book available: print, digital, and audio. The point, for me, is not to get the “best” version of the book, but to get the book read.

I like audio, though, because I can quickly get through a book (using the 3x speed on the Audible app for iPhone), print because it’s convenient for me to use for research and quick browsing, and eBook because I can carry around a Kindle and store thousands of books in one place.

I listen to so many books while I’m doing chores around the house, driving to work, walking around the grocery store, etc. Those few minutes here and there add up quickly.

You’ll be surprised at how fast you’ll get through books this way.

Why Audible?

A well-read friend recommended Audible to me a few of years ago, and I was skeptical. $15 per month for an audiobook? Was it really worth it?

I realized it absolutely was and quickly upgraded to the $20 option (which gets you two books per month) and began buying extra books (which Audible members get at often deep discounts).

I’ve been a proud Audible member for years now, and it’s one of the best services I use on a daily basis. A lot of books I read and recommend are available on Audible, so listening to them in audio is a great way to grow and learn. This is the only way I am able to read multiple books a week while managing a demanding schedule, and it is absolutely worth the cost.

If you’re interested in trying out audiobooks via Audible, you can download my best-selling book right now for free here: The Art of Work.

That’ll give you a free, 30-day trial (note: this is only for non-members of Audible; if you’re already a member, you can obviously already get the book using your monthly credits).

What’s the catch? There is none. You can download the book and immediately start listening. And if you don’t like it, you can cancel and still keep the book.

A word to the wise, though: this was how I got hooked on audiobooks years ago in the first place. So consider yourself warned. You are about to read — and learn and grow — a whole lot more.

If you’ve told yourself you were going to get around to reading more but never have, then I encourage you try audiobooks.

To get more articles like this, check out my free newsletter. As a thank-you, I’ll send you a free excerpt of my best-selling book, The Art of Work, plus other fun things.

This post originally appeared on

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