How I Read

During my last year of University College, I rediscovered my childhood joy of reading. At the time I was working on my bachelor’s degree (an app for the company I now work for) in a structured way from morning to afternoon, so my evenings were open for the first time in years. At one point, I had watched all seasons of The Wire, all seasons of House MD and Breaking Bad had come to its conclusion. Out of pure boredom, I decided, "hey, might as well do some research on that bachelor thesis." So I went on Amazon and ordered Donald Norman's The Design of Everyday Things.
When I got it the book I read it from cover to cover in 4 days. It was THAT good. I ordered Norman's Living with Complexity next, before Robert C. Martin's Clean Code.

The list goes on, and now after 15 months, I have read about 60 books, both fictional and non-fictional. How do I get through so many books? A lot has to do with organization.

Tips and tricks for reading lots of books

A while ago I read an excellent article on Lifehacker where a guy used Trello (a free service for organizing Kanban-boards) to keep track of his reading lists. I tried it out and found it really useful. In my board I have 4 categories: 'Backlog', 'To Read', 'Reading' and 'Done'. If I stumble upon a book I want to read, I put it in the Backlog. If the 'To Read' list has less than 7 books in it or I want to read it in the near future, I put it in that category. Each book is also color coded, with blue for fiction and green for non-fiction and novels. As a rule of thumb, I try to read at least one non-fictional book each month to keep my brain up to speed and actually learn something.

The Kanban board also helps with motivation: Nothing is as good as dragging a book from 'Reading' to 'Done'.

To remember as much as possible I always keep a notebook handy when reading non-fiction. Before each reading session, I read the notes I wrote last time I sat down with the book to refresh. This technique has done wonders for my memory. Thanks to this habit, a notebook is now always with me, and it have saves more than one idea from oblivion. For reading academia and non-fiction, I try to set aside 30 minutes each day. A great place to get some reading done is in airports and on planes. Let’s face it, you just sit there and wait to get to where you are going anyway.

For reading two books simultaneously, audiobooks has revolutionized my life. If I want to read fiction (I find it too hard to concentrate while listening to non-fiction), I always check Audible first.

By just listening to a audiobook to and from work, I get 40 minutes of book each day. Out for a jog? 30 minutes. Doing laundry? 15 minutes. All this time adds up, so going through a couple of books a month is easy. It is also easier for my brain to distinguishing between two books when one is read on paper and the other is listened to.

For e-books I use my Kindle and the Kindle-app is installed everywear. I use the excelente application Calibre to mange it all. This library is stored on my Dropbox.