The power of reading books more slowly

Every evening, before I go to bed, I tend to read 2-3, sometimes 4 pages of a book that I’m in the middle of.

It didn’t used to be like that, I would take time out of my day and spend a longer time reading a book, trying to soak as much in as I could. I would feel great if I was able to finish a book in an afternoon, gaining all this “knowledge” so quickly.

Recently, however, I’ve realized something. In the middle of reading “The 4 Agreements” (an incredible book, I’m glad Joel showed me), it took me over 1 week to just read the 1 agreement, which is maybe 20 pages.

After that, I stopped reading for a few days and just let the thoughts sink in – and most importantly, let them manifest as actions. Or to be more precise have those thoughts manifest as small experiments.

That is exactly where I think my problem with reading at long stretches used to lie. I would read dozens and dozens of great points and thoughts from the author and connect it with my own thinking.

What I would fall short of, most of the time is to test and experiment with some of the authors finding.

I started doing this much more and with the recent experience with the 4 agreements, it became a lot more clear.

Another example I’d like to mention is when I started to read “Peace is every step” from Thich Nhat Hanh. With this book I couldn’t even read more than 1 page. Not because it is so dense. But because every single thought Thich puts across is so extremely valuable, that I don’t want to rush through it.

That’s why I now limit myself to not reading too much in one stretch. One, two, three, sometimes a few more pages is enough to get insight into a great point the author has made.

Then it’s time to stop, to reflect, to let it sink in and most importantly – to start experimenting with that exact idea right away. Does it work for me? Does it not? It makes reading a much richer and more mindful experience. And it feels great.

How do you read?

Hi, I'm Leo, Co-Founder of Buffer, a new way to Tweet and share Facebook posts smarter and with more impact. On this blog, I share my insights about life, startups and marketing. Subscribe to my Facebook updates or email me. I would love to connect.


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