I’m addicted to audio books and you should be too!
I read a lot of articles (see headlines and first sentences now a days) but I didn’t read a single book in 2014. I was never a great reader as a kid, so I didn’t read that many books growing up. It was later in life that I realized I was much more of an auditory learner. So fast forward to the end of August 2016 and I just finished my 18th book of the year.
Here’s how I made the turnaround and why.
Life got really busy! My wife and I had our new baby girl Brynlee in August 2013 and that combined with the regular demands of life meant that my leisure time was usually spent in front of the TV. Realizing that I hadn’t read a single book in 2014, I got motivated and finished six books in 2015. Four audio books and two of what you readers would call “books.” I felt good about myself after realizing I had gone through that many and had done so without having any goal in mind other than to get back to learning. So I set the goal of 12 books in 2016. But a funny thing happened, I realized that I absolutely love audio books. In August I finished my 18th book. I have three others underway at the same time (not the way I’d recommend doing it, I’ll explain) and I now think it’s a reasonable goal to finish 24 books this year (I’m going to blow that number away, but I like to start with achievable goals).
This is what has worked for me and how I’ve been able to power through so many books.
1, Pick a topic you love
I started the year with a tennis theme, The Inner Game of Tennis followed by Winning Ugly followed by Open the Andre Agassi biography. I love tennis and with all of my coaching it was sad that I hadn’t read those books before. By picking a topic it allows you to really jump in and immerse yourself in something. I really love coaching tennis and after finishing my third book in a row on the subject of tennis, I felt like my mind had opened up to huge new ideas and my understanding was so vastly expanded that it was all I wanted to talk about!
2, Make it part of your routine
When I’m alone in the car, I’ve got an audio book on. This is my new routine. No music, no talk radio. Just me and my audio book. This means a 15 minute drive across town can give me an enjoyable story or a new concept. While a long trip by myself can mean an entire book. The audio books I listen to range from 2.5 hours to 12 hours of listening typically. There are exceptions, “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu is only One hour and eight minutes, while “Open” by Andre Agassi is 18 hours and five minutes. Once you make it part of your routine, you’ll be amazed how the pages… I mean minutes and hours fly by!
3, Figure out a system
I’ve found that Audible.com works great for me. I have the app on my phone and it keeps track of exactly where I’m at in the book. I have books in iTunes as well, but they are much more clunky and often send me back to the start of the book or chapter. I love Apple products, but I’m not a huge fan of the current “Music” or “iTunes” setup. My system works best when I go straight through a book and don’t have multiple books going. Right now I have three books going, because one is the Bible, which takes over 86 hours to listen to. I’m working on a system for myself that would be an entire book, then a section of the Bible, rotating so that I’m able to finish the Bible in 2016.
4, Build on the book you just finished
Almost all of my books are based on the book I just finished. I started with tennis books, the “Inner Game of Tennis” and “Winning Ugly” really should be packaged together because of how much they compliment each other. “Winning Ugly” made me want to know more about Andre Agassi’s life. Those sports themed books got me going on a coaching kick that included books by Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, John Calipari and several by Jon Gordon. The coaching books really had me thinking about leadership, winning, success and self improvement/best practices. So those led to books by Malcolm Gladwell, Charles Duhigg and Angela Duckworth. The funny thing about books is that they make you want more.