How to Read 10 Books Per Month
In July of this year, I found myself entangled within a problem. The problem quite simply was that I had a plethora of books I wanted to get through, and seemingly no time to get through them. This came down to a lack of a plan, structure and effective time management to progress quickly and efficiently through my materials. So I set out to tackle the problem. While, initially I felt it was a reading problem, in that I needed to read faster — I found that it was actually a time problem; how allocating time adequately would more than makeup for any slow reading. Upon this realisation, I was tasked to deconstruct the time it takes to read a book — to pick apart all the nuances that go into completing a book. This article presents the formula I developed to assist me in my reading. So far, I have stayed relatively on track and I’ve read more books in the past 4 months than I have read in my entire life.
1 — The Maths.
So it begins — this section will cover mathematics used to construct the formula. The calculations are simple and twofold — firstly, working from the law of averages and then, secondly, finding out how we fit into those averages. Now, you first need to find out the average word count of the types of books you read; get as specific as your research will allow for the genre of the book. For me, the most specific I could get was ‘non-fiction’; meaning my first average came from searching the average length word count in a nonfiction book. This came out at about 90,000 words, with tentatively 250–300 words per page.
The next stage is optional but I cross-referenced this number with my own primary data by selecting five of my books at random; selecting two pages within each book at random and counting the words on each page. Add the two page’s word count together and divide by two to get the average word count per page. Then multiply that number by the number of pages the book has — which will give you a more accurate figure of the number of words that book has (or if you’re an e-reader you can find the exact word count within the book’s stats). I did this with my five randomly selected books and all worked out at around 90,000 with the odd extremity. Thus, I was happy to proceed under the notion of 90,000 words on average per book.
Next, I had to find out my reading speed — an easy process and takes less than 2 minutes. I will say that when doing a reading speed test, do be honest with yourself; people tend to take the test and read as fast as they possibly can to get the best score they can. But there’s no way they could keep that up for an entire book, so take the test while reading at a level you would feel comfortable doing for a whole book. My result was just shy of 500 words per minute. Therefore, (90,000/500) we can say that an average book with my reading speed would take me 180 minutes to get through, or 3 hours.
At this stage, all you need to do now is expand that out, then break it down to find out how long you need to read each day to hit your goal. My personal goal was and is 10 books per month — this equates to 30 hours of reading per month. So, in theory, to read 10 books per month I need to read for 1 hour a day. It did not work out this way…
After a few months of careful, practical testing I found that to get through 10 books each month I need to read for 2 hours a day. So how were my calculations out by a factor of 100%? Well, I believe it’s a mix of still falling prey to the speed reading test and treating it like a sprint rather than a marathon. Equally, I want my comprehension rate to be high and so I would rather sacrifice my reading speed over my comprehension rate — this led to me re-reading sections within my book to fully grasp the concepts presented. From this, after reading for an hour at a constant, manageable speed I went straight to the reading speed test while still fixed in the correct speed for me. My test score came out at 250 words per minute; as opposed to 500 words which it was previously. That is the factor of 100% — now you know to be careful in your estimates with the speed reading test.
2 — The Maintainability.
Now you know your time objectives here are a few tips in order to maintain your progression.
Number 1: Effective Time Management.
Yes, you’ve got your parameters but you need to make a point of scheduling your reading slots the night before. Try to complete your daily reading goal in as few blocks as possible, the bigger the chunks of reading time the momentum you can build up. I recommend an hour being your smallest reading block.
Number 2: Preparation, preparation, preparation.
I mean a few things by this, hence the repetition; first, make sure you have books lined up — this is not hard to do as there are more books than time. Second, before beginning your reading session ensure you have minimised distractions — close your door, turn off your phone and open your book. Thirdly, be prepared for that life does get in the way, and you’re not going to hit your goal every time and that’s okay! Just enjoy reading, don’t turn it into a chore, I guarantee following this method you will be reading more than you are right now but still manage expectations.
Number 3: Keep a log.
This is simply done, I have a Google Doc that I log each and every book I read on with a date stamp included. This is the easiest and fastest way to track your progression and see what your pitfalls are, how you’re doing and how you should be doing.
3 — The Message.
I employ you to just push yourself, try this strategy for a week and see where it takes you. I was shocked, to reiterate — I have read more books in the past 4 months than I have in my entire life. This is a process that requires adjustment, patience and a willingness to learn. This strategy has worked for me and I hope it works for you. Now you don’t have to read 10 books per month, can you set your own goal. But with this template, this formula — you now have the power to adjust it to fit you. If you read 100 words per minute and only want to read for 1.5 hours each day then that’s still 3 books a month! You should try to read something every day — it can improve memory and critical thinking skills, stress levels have been shown to go down and can improve your sleep.
To surmise, while the maths may seem complicated in theory — just work it through and it’s really quite simple. You find out how long it takes for you to read the average length book, and then just work from that to find out how long you’ve got to read each day to read x amount of book, and vice versa. I challenge you to give it a go and have fun with it, whether you’re reading for knowledge or reading for pleasure do not forget to enjoy what you read! In time you will develop your own tips and tricks to maintain your course and the ones listed above work for me. As always, I thank you so much for reading, have a wonderful day.