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How You Can Read 500 Books in 10 years

Sound challenging? Maybe, but who doesn’t like a challenge, and it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Not convinced?

Time Management experts tell us that nothing will come of our efforts if we’re not measuring them in some tangible way. So here’s something you can do quite easily. Buy an inexpensive three-ring notebook, and keep a book diary. Write down the date you begin reading, the author and maybe a comment or two. That’s it. Then do it for the next book and the next. It’s best to read one book at a time, as it will decrease your tendency to start a bunch of books simultaneously and not finish any of them.

This one act will inspire you to keep reading because you’ve written it down in permanent ink. If you try to read four books per month; that’s 48 every year. Add two more books each year, and you’re up to 50, and in ten years, 500. Don’t have ten years? Start anyway. You’ll be a better person in the end.

There’s no such thing as someone who reads too much. In fact, most of us read too little, or we’re perusing what I (and others) refer to as ‘Chinese Dinner’ books – those easily forgotten or which leave no positive effect on us.

Books change us, for better or for worse, so choose wisely. There are wonderful books that have never made it to the various bestsellers’ lists and probably never will. But fear not! Some authors (like James V. Schall, former Professor of Political Philosophy from Georgetown University) suggest reading guides for the perplexed, like me. Guided reading helps us develop an ‘Intellectual Life’ or ‘Life of the Mind’, a goal from which we could all benefit.

I was fond of reminding my 5th-8th grade students that it is important to keep reading in order to do our own thinking. What a gift that is – a gift that books give us back just for spending time with them. And the old adage that ‘Books are our Friends’ still rings true. On those dismal days when we tend to get bored or depressed, a good book can pull us out of a funk. Try it! And expect no negative side effects like constipation, stroke or death.

So jump in! The water is warm, and there’s plenty of room to float around in the magical world of the written word.