Be Strategic In Your Reading

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I like the way Ecc 12:12, New Life Version, puts it: But more than this, my son, be careful. There is no end to the writing of many books and reading many of them makes the body tired.

If you are one of those who delight in listing the number and varieties of books you read monthly, I have some unpleasant news for you. Except, you are retired like Bill Gates or already achieved a lot like Richard Branson, and just need to connect more with people as a thought-leader, you are not being strategic in your reading.

I  used to read a lot of books and have proudly written many blog posts on how many books a year or a month I read/buy. Sadly, after a while that is all the benefits you get from reading a lot of books -- just the cool bragging right. You don't learn anything deep enough to do anything meaningful with than be a better conversationist.

Every serious skill in life requires deep learning, a mix of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience. If you are always reading, and diverse books, you will hardly go beyond the theoretical knowledge phase. You won't have energy, motivation and time to do the hands-on without having to cut down on the reading.

The only readings that have been financially profitable to me are the ones I backed up with hands-on experience. The Excel books I mixed with on the job practice, the financial analysis + investment books I mixed with real world use, the French books I acted out and the programming books I used to become a better programmer. The many other books I read were of benefits too, just that when I needed to gain real world expertise and value from books, I had to cut down on the reading part to make out time for the practice part. And now that I am working hard at a few big dreams, I am reading a lot less and practicing a lot more.

Reading has this deceptive effect of making you feel like you have done something great while making you too weak to do something completely new. When I took to writing daily, my biggest challenge was to tear myself away from reading to actually writing. I would read a lot then to get ideas of what to write and then end up too weak to write anything. Now I just write and don't fall into the reading trap.

I still read, and a lot. But now I read more of my own writings -- my blog articles, ongoing novel, computer programs, ideas and project documentation. I read things I can translate to action, and make out time to translate them to action. I no longer read just to be a better discussion partner or to brag about the number of books I have read. I am now strategic in my reading. I read to learn real-world skills. To earn and to do more.


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