3) Don’t set intimidating goals
Keeping up with the habits of CEOs can be an intimidating task. Two prominent high-achievers who have been interviewed for The CEO Library are Fabrice Grinda, a leading tech entrepreneur who started out with $100,000 (£77,000) of credit card debt and has now raked in over $300 million by selling his stakes in successful investments, and Naveen Jain, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded Moon Express – a Silicon Valley start-up that ultimately hopes to mine the moon for natural resources. The former reads 100 books each year; the latter likes to wake up at 04:00 to read books for three hours.
But it needn’t be that way. Andra Zaharia is a freelance content marketer, podcast host and passionate reader. Her top tip is to avoid unrealistic expectations and intimidating goals. “Incorporating daily reading, I think, is a matter of starting small,” she says. Zaharia suggests starting by asking friends for book recommendations and reading just one or two pages. “You don’t have to go on Goodreads and set a goal of 60 books per year. Kindle books can actually be easier, because you can’t easily see the number of pages that are remaining”.
4) If you’re really struggling, try the “Rule of 50”
This rule of thumb will help you to decide when to give up on a book. If you’re either prone to ruthlessly abandoning a read at page four or slogging it out with giant tomes that you’ve grown to hate, the idea is to read 50 pages and then decide if the book – in the words of Marie Kondo – “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, give it up.
The strategy was invented by the author, librarian and literary critic Nancy Pearl and explained in her book, Book Lust. It includes a thoughtful caveat for people who are over 50 years old, who she suggests should subtract their age from 100 instead – the resulting number is how many pages they should read. Because as you age, life really does become too short to read bad books.
So there you have it. Prising your phone out of your hand for just an hour a day, and placing a book in your texting claw instead, could boost your empathy levels and make you more productive. If the world’s most busy and successful people can manage it, you can too.
Who knows what you’ll do with all that extra knowledge and inspiration. You might even end up with your own space venture.
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