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How to read more books

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

In 2018 I discovered the hashtag #52booksin52weeks over on Instagram and as I like a challenge and I love books I thought I'd have a go. I managed 25/52 and documented my efforts here

In 2019 I decided to try again, and finished the challenge total of 52 in just 37 weeks. As various people along the way have said to me, how do you make time to read more?

Are there any secrets to it? There is a bit of background to this as there always is, but I'll keep these brief

1) Read first thing in the morning

To enable you to do this leave your phone out of the bedroom, and do not check your phone until you have read at least 1 chapter of your book. Sound harsh? There is some science to this as well.

It has been shown that viewing social media first thing in the morning can make you feel bad, overwhelmed & unhappy before you have even begun. Many productivity experts also believe that by diving into social media, or our own email inboxes first thing, we are allowing others to set our priorities for the day.

So unless there is a good reason not to do it, create an agenda that involves putting reading first in the morning, & then dive into your day feeling calmer & fortified with good mental energy.

2) Use a book the same way you would use your phone

I appreciate I sound somewhat anti social media which is odd for someone who works in Marketing, and Im not I promise. But think about how many times you pick up your phone in a day and just stare at it mindlessly. Now replace your phone with the book you are trying to read and you suddenly get through a whole lot more pages in a day. It does help if you are not reading a huge 600 pager of a book, maybe keep it to slim 200 pagers for the mobile reader :)

3) Read more than one book at a time

One way I have definitely read more is by having 2 or 3 books on the go at any one time. My logic is that you don't just watch one type of tv programme do you, if you were only allowed to watch soaps, or documentaries or the news you would soon feel really fed up and bored. So why do this with books? By keeping various books on the go, I definitely read more because I always had something I was in the mood for.

4) Go to the library regularly

I cant speak for you but the libraries I have access to are awesome, incredible places. I can often pick up brand new books within weeks of their publication dates. And they also have lots of great audio books too so if reading books is not your thing, then you can listen to them instead. Also by going to the library you will get into the rhythm of reading and returning, replenishing and reading again. Plus you will constantly be seeing new things that take your fancy and thus, yes you guessed it, you read more.

5) Talk about books with others

Whether you join a real life book club, or just join in hashtags that put you in touch with people who are reading on social media, talking about books with like minded people will inspire you and help you stay motivated.

I've saved the biggest till last and maybe 6 is a crappy number to finish on but oh well

6) Have a time of night that you put your phone out of sight and don't allow yourself back on it.

This has been a god send for me personally. Now I have another device in the lounge and if I want to listen to a podcast or look something up I don't have my social media accounts on it so no looking up a word and then finding myself dazed and confused after a 20 minute scroll for no good reason.

I hope this list helps you to read more personally! And finally if of interest here is a list of my 52 for 2019. I went on to read 103 in the end! Final round up here


My 52 books

1. The Travelling Bag - Susan Hill

2. Calm the F Down - Sarah Knight

3. The Chimp Paradox - Professor Steve Peters

4. How to Twitter for Business Success - Nicky Kriel

5. How to be a Productivity Ninja - Graham Allcott

6. In Praise of Wasting Time - Alan Lightman

7. This is going to hurt - Adam Kay

8. Elenor Oliphant is totally fine - Gaily Honeyman

9. Crushing It - Gary Vaynerchuk

10. The Power of Small - Linda Kaplan and Robin Koval

11. Talk Like TED - Carmine Gallo

12. Bloody Brilliant Women - Cathy Newman

13. Women and Power - Mary Beard

14. Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher and William Ury

15. Yes we can - A Biography of Barak Obama by Garen Thomas

16. Linchpin - Seth Godin

17. Talk Lean - Alan H Palmer

18. Becoming - Michelle Obama

19. Drive - Daniel H Pink

20. Winging It - Alex Jones

21. Braving the Wilderness - Brene Brown

22. Dad Life - Simon Hooper

23. The Self Discipline Handbook - Natalie Wise

24. Still Me -JoJo Moyes

25. Tribe of Mentors - Tim Ferris

26. Deep Work - Cal Newport

27. A Good Time to be A Girl - Helena Morrissey

28. The Freelance Mum - Annie Ridout

29. When - Daniel H Pink

30. Un*ck your Finances - Melissa Browne

31. How to Break up with Your Phone - Catherine Price

32. Big Ideas - Jonne Ceserani

33. Good to Great - Jim Collins

34. Stuffocation - James Wallman

35. Option B - Sheryl Sandburg & Adam Grant

36. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

37. Jog On - Bella Mackie

38. You are a Badass at Making Money - Jen Sincero

39. You, Your Child & School - Sir Ken Robinson

40. Notes on a Nervous Planet - Matt Haig

41. We are Displaced - Malala Yousafza

42. Shattered, Modern Motherhood & the Illusion of Equality - Rebecca Asher

43. Everything is F*cked - Mark Manson

44. Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

45. What Happened - Hilary Clinton

46. An Inconvenient Truth - Al Gore

47. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference - Greta Thunberg

48. How to Stop Brexit - Nick Clegg

49. Slay in Your Lane - Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebine

50. Tools of Titans

51.Whats your Excuse for Not Succeeding as an Artist - Debs Henry-Pollard

52. Of Women - Shami Chakrabarti

Audio Books listened to ( not counted in total)

Tony Blair - A Journey

Cal Newport - Digital Minimalism

Max McKeown - #Now: The Surprising Truth about the Power of Now

Would you like more help with your marketing? My new book is out now

If you would like a book of 100 Marketing Tips written just for small business owners then do have a look here. I wrote this book to be easy to read cover to cover or to be kept as a reference to dip in and out of!

About Me

Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in SE London.

Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing.

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