How I’m Going to Read More in 2017

And remember them with picture book summaries

After reading Ken Norton’s post How I Read More Books — I read 61 books last year and it was easier than I thought (definitely worth a read). I decided to try out his advice this year.

Below are the 5 Steps he highlighted in his post along with some quick tips on how I’ve incorporated it into my daily routine.

1. Find time by cutting back on junk reading

For me this meant exclusively relying and curating email newsletters for my daily industry and thought leadership pieces. I also limited myself to 30mins daily to for this type of reading and bookmarked longer pieces that for the weekend. A few newsletters I really enjoy include:

  • Ben Thompson — Stratechery
  • MIT Technology Review
  • Launch Ticker

2. Create a distraction-free reading environment

To accomplish this I’ve made two key adjustments to my daily routine. First I switched from biking to walking to work, which craved out 1.5hr of audiobook bliss. It also gave me time to think through what I was reading and share it on my daily Anchor station. Second I bought a membership at SF MOMA and spent my Thursday evenings from 6:00pm to 8:o0pm reading in exhibits. I might be crazy but reading around great artists is pseudo social pressure that to be great it takes effort and dedication which helps me get through even the most dry books (i.e. just finished About Face by Alan Cooper)

3. Track what you read

Nothing much to say here except use GoodReads.

4. Your next book should always be waiting

Again, use GoodReads. They make it extremely easy to get inspiration and create a reading list from your friend’s reads, recommendations and trending books. What is missing though *cough — if anyone needs an idea* would be the ability to see the reading list of thought leaders I follow on twitter, akin to what Breaker has done for Podcast (i.e. some people I would follow include Chris Dixon, Ben Thompson, Fred Wilson and Balaji S).

5. Record the knowledge you’ve gained

I’m a visual learner and would argue that for most people that is also true because from an evolutionary standpoint our visual functions had to develop the most for us to survive (actually just looked up a quick stat and 65% of the population are visual learners).

Instead of writing notes or doing a ton of highlighting, every morning I just quickly draw an image in Paper’s iPhone app that I think best captures and synthesizes the concepts of a book I read the day before. Here’s an example of image I drew to remind me of a concept in Stumbling on Happiness that humans are the only species that think about what futures makes us happy and we suck at it.

What’s neat about this approach is at the end of the book I have a picture book of the concepts that I can quickly reference to get the key takeaways from the book.

Like the picture book? Follow this publication — I’ll be posting one every month!

That’s it — 5 Steps to reading more this year :)

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