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How You Can Read More Books Than Ever Before

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Most us would love to read more books if we could. Our problem, of course, is that precious commodity: TIME. To my surprise, however, I have found ways around that limitation.

How You Can Read More Books Than Ever Before

(Photo: Reading on my day off)

For the past three years, I’ve done my best to read 50 books by the end of each year. Though I never meant to surpass that goal this year, to my surprise, I did.

Your life is busy—just like mine. So I’d like to share with you the 5 ways I use to read more books—and how you can too. I’ll even suggest 5 ways you can find some free books.

(If you’re curious, I’ll also share the books I read this year—all 65 of them—and tell you my favorites.)

Finding Time to Read More Books

  1. Read with your ears. An easy way to read more books is to listen to them on your smartphone. This allows you to read while in the car, while exercising, or while doing yard work. Get started by downloading a FREE audiobook at Audible. They even allow you to exchange a book you don’t like, no questions asked.
  2. Keep a book on hand everywhere you go. I always have a book handy for idle moments—those cracks of time in the day when you could read instead of veg. Keep a book in the car for the checkout lines, doctor offices, solo lunches, and traffic jams. Or, if you don’t want a stack of books in your car, take your tablet with you. I always have an e-book I’m reading on my iPad mini so that if I’m never staring at the ceiling or stuck reading some magazine. I read more books this way.
  3. Learn how to read faster. This is a skill that will benefit you all your life. A few years ago I read a great book called How to Read Better and Faster. It really helped me read more—better and faster. It takes practice, but hey, what skill doesn’t?
  4. Make Gleaning Your Goal, Rather than Finishing a Book—Consider for this next year a goal for reading that goes beyond simply finishing a book. Choose instead to glean from the book what God would have you get. Sometimes that means you don’t finish a book. Why waste your time? You may choose instead to capture some great quotes from the book; great quotes can serve as great summaries—and great takeaways. You’ll never remember all of what you read—an impossible goal. But just the process of reading stimulates your mind to think in ways it otherwise wouldn’t.
  5. Turn off the TV one night a week. Okay, obvious—but in a culture where the average home has the television on 8 hours a day, the obvious needs mentioning.

5 Places to Find (Free) Books to Read

Here are a few FREE ways to read more books, from sources both obvious and not-so-0bvious.

  1. Ask for Books as Gifts—Ever struggle to answer what you’d like for Christmas or your birthday? Me too. Now, you have a ready-made answer: “Give me a book you would recommend.” Books make great gifts to give as well.
  2. Your Nightstand or Bookshelf—Take a look at that stack of books on your nightstand. They’re totally free. I have a stack there to. Also, look at your bookshelf. We all have books we’ve stacked away that we meant to read but never got around to it. You could even re-read a great book you’ve read before.
  3. Your Local Library—In addition to physical books, most libraries now also lend e-books and audiobooks. Again, totally free.
  4. Free Kindle E-books—Bookmark this link and check out Amazon’s Top 100 Free Christian Inspirational E-books. You’ll need a Kindle or a free Kindle reader for your iPad or computer. If there’s another genre you’re interested in, just follow these instructions.
  5. Free Christian E-books —Here are a few good free Christian e-books I have found.
Bonus for bloggers: If you blog, you might consider joining one of the blogger review programs. I regularly get free books from Baker Publishing and the Booklook programs in exchange for an honest review. If you’re willing to write a brief book review, this is a great way to get new, free books.
Reading Louis L'Amour

(Photo: Reading Louis L’Amour on vacation last month)

The 65 Books I Read This Year (and My Favorites)

Listed in no particular order, here are the 65 books I read this year (other than the Bible). If I wrote a review of the book, I included a link to it. You can see all my book reviews here. I also post quotes I like from many of these books.

My favorites have an asterisk after the title.*

  1. Evernote for Your Life: A Practical Guide for the Use of Evernote in Your Everyday Life
  2. Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English
  3. Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money
  4. Get Wise: Make Great Decisions Every Day (book review here)
  5. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
  6. Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life* (book review here)
  7. Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy (book review here)
  8. Insanely Simple: The Obsession that Drives Apple’s Success 
  9. Character That Counts: Growing through Accountability
  10. Shave 10 Hours Off Your Week
  11. The Bible’s Answers to 100 of Life’s Biggest Questions (book review here)
  12. The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive 
  13. Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit 
  14. Gift from the Sea
  15. Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully* (book review here)
  16. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
  17. The Isis Crisis
  18. Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible’s History, Origin, and Meaning 
  19. Start Your Own Corporation
  20. Coach Wooden’s Greatest Secret: The Power of a Lot of Little Things Done Well*
  21. Just Say the Word

  22. Lifelong Learning
  23. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal*
  24. Lying
  25. The Complete 101 Collection What Every Leader Needs to Know (book review here)
  26. Let the Journey Begin: Finding God’s Best for Your Life (book review here)
  27. How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible 
  28. The Reason for My Hope: Salvation (book review here)
  29. Becoming a Writer
  30. The Virtual Assistant Solution
  31. Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business
  32. What Keeps You Up at Night? (book review here)
  33. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to do about It
  34. Things Seen and Heard in Bible Lands 
  35. Problogger
  36. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
  37. Going Places with God: a Devotional Journey through the Lands of the Bible (I read it as I recorded the brand new audiobook!)
  38. John Wayne’s America: the Politics of Celebrity 
  39. Working with Automation 

  40. Linchpin 
  41. The 4-Hour Workweek
  42. Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service
  43. Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends
  44. Take Me Home: An Autobiography

  45. The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America (book review here)
  46. Your Blueprint for Life: How to Align Your Passion, Gifts, and Calling with Eternity in Mind (book review here)
  47. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
  48. Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
  49. The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
  50. Crush It!
  51. Tranquility: Cultivating a Quiet Soul in a Busy World (book review here)
  52. All the Light We Cannot See 
  53. How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson – A 15-minute Summary: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
  54. Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity (book review here)
  55. Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now (book review here)
  56. Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness (book review here)
  57. The Automatic Customer
  58. A Technique for Producing Ideas
  59. Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are  (book review here)
  60. Money Making Mom How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference (book review here)
  61.  Fair Blows the Wind*
  62. The Ultimate Sales Machine
  63. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  64. What We Believe: Understanding and Confessing the Apostles’ Creed (book review here)
  65. Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told (book review here)

Tell me what you think: What book have you enjoyed this year? To leave a comment, just click here.

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