How to read more. 52 books in 1 year

Javier Rivero
The Modern Stoa
Published in
4 min readApr 26, 2022


I can’t even finish reading one book! how on earth would I read 52 of them? Well, you scroll through social media for 5+ hours a day. That’s good news.

During the past year I set a goal for myself to read 52 books in one year (yes, that’s one per week). It sounded impossible, since my personal record was 8 books in one year. The main idea was to put those 5+ hours I spent on social media to good use. My rationale was that if I put that same amount of effort into reading books that I do into consuming social media, it should yield great results, right? I ended up reading 67 books. (If you’re interested this was my top 9 out of those 67.)

So, how can you do it too? These are my learnings:

1. Social media clean-up

Before jumping into any reading advice, you should clean-up your social media feeds. Having an endless scrolling feature won’t help much towards achieving a reading goal, so you better cut the amount of accounts you follow on twitter/instagram/fb at least by half. This should be a pretty effortless exercise when done mindfully, you will notice you don’t even care for half of the people you follow in there. When I did the exercise I reduced from 700+ accounts on Instagram to almost only 250, and for more than 100 accounts I just muted their stories update. The result of this exercise is a clean feed that has an actual end after scrolling for 5 minutes, this will clear up some time for reading!

2. Where do I begin?

Great question, you will need a few starting books to kick-start your reading habit, I would recommend digging through book related websites, blogs, subscribing to bookish newsletters or following bookish Twitter accounts where you will find compilations of the “Best 10 Books for Business” or “Top 5 books for self discipline”, etc, etc. I also offer a series of these roundups over at my blog. For fiction books I suggest you find your favorite genre and navigate through it. For me it has been “horror”, I find it engaging and at the same time fun to read, I’ve found a subreddit that I use for recommendations, reviews and discussions.

3. Track your progress

“Anything that is measured improves” reads the famous quote, and I couldn’t be any more convinced about it. I would suggest you open a Goodreads account so you can save all of the interesting titles over at your “Want To Read” shelf so you can have a wide library of options when you start reading. Another cool feature is that Goodreads let’s you create a yearly reading challenge where you share and update how many books you’ve been reading, it keeps you accountable. You can also set yourself a realistic goal of 12 books, or go big with 52, heck you can even do 6 if you want. The idea is to create a habit you enjoy doing, it shouldn’t feel dreadful.

4. Wide funnel tight filter

Once you’ve started reading, the best advice I read is to have a wide funnel in regards to titles I want to read next. I try to select books with less than 300 pages as I have found out (for non-fiction at least) that there are few exceptions of books that can be above this threshold and still provide value. After the first couple chapters I decide if I will finish the book or not, if I find myself not focusing or wondering on thoughts it usually means that the book isn’t that interesting for me at least, so I stop reading it, full stop. A common mistake I made in the beginning was to push through the book and later found myself hating to read. You need to find something that is interesting to you and can keep you engaged for most of the time

5. Subscribe to a Library

Once you’ve set yourself a couple of interesting titles to start with, you will need to get the book, thankfully there is a plethora of services that will ease the friction. First, you can subscribe to your local library, and through the App “Libby” send them to your Kindle (at least in the US). But if you’re not that privileged you can also subscribe to kindle unlimited or to audible, Scribd or other audio platforms, for a small monthly fee you get access to tons of books.

Find what you enjoy best, is it audiobooks to listen to on your commute? Is it a physical copy to read and highlight in the mornings? Is it an ebook to read 30 mins before going to sleep? For me it’s all three of the above. Tweak to what works best for you and enjoy your reading trip!

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Javier Rivero
The Modern Stoa

Head of Retail Operations @ Uber