At the beginning of 2013, my friend Kenna Griffin launched a project called #100books, in which she sought to use the hashtag to document her goal of reading 100 books throughout the year. As I am a voracious reader and I’ve estimated that I read 1-2 books each week without even trying, I decided to join her. So, at the beginning of 2013, I began keeping a log of the books I had read. By April, I had read 36 books. If you do the math, that would put me on a trajectory of having read 144 books in 2013. And, the thing is, I’m not trying to get through books just to be able to say that I’ve read them. I crave knowledge. I am insatiably curious. I read, because I must.
Needless to say, 100 books per year hasn’t really been challenging me. So, I’ve decided to do something a little more ambitious…
My long-term goal is to read 1,000 books by 2020.
That gives me 7 years to read 1,000 books–coming out to be about 143 books per year and roughly 3 books per week. I think this is attainable and that, no matter what life throws my way, I’ll be able to keep up. At the same time, it will be challenging and require some serious reading if I fall even a little bit behind.
Why Read So Much???
There have been detractors in my lifelong obsession with reading. At times, I have been one of them. The argument against reading so much is pretty clear: if you are reading, you aren’t doing. If your nose is in the book, your feet aren’t on the pavement. You don’t learn by reading things in a book, you learn by experiencing them in your life.
I agree with this argument on one level. Learning without application is pointless. But I would also venture to say that its’ impossible. We apply what learn subconsciously even if we don’t realize it. The more we learn, then, the broader the range of options our subconscious mind is able to select from when making snap decisions (which are the vast majority of the decisions we make).
Whether or not I can demonstrate that reading, rather than simply living your own life and learning from your own experiences, is important, I will say that I’m going to do it anyway. I am admittedly addicted to consuming information. So, even if you could convince me that reading is a waste of time, I would still do it…because I’m obsessed.
That being said, I don’t believe reading is a waste of time. I do believe that it is important. And here’s why: everything we learn is from experience.
- We learn from our experiences.
- We learn from the experiences of others.
When we read, we open ourselves up to the highlights of what others have experienced. If I read 1,000 books, I am reading the summaries of life experiences and the reflections thereupon from 1,000+ different people. In my mind, that makes me 1,000 times more experienced than if I really only on what I encounter in my own life. Another way of saying it is that, when you are trying to come to an understanding of something in life, reading the thoughts and experiences of others gives you a bigger sample to draw from. You cannot derive universal truth from your own life; you must look to the rest of the universe.
All My Friends Are Writing Books: An Ulterior Motive
I am growing up in amazing point in history. Communication barriers have been leveled, and the social web has made it possible for me to forge relationships with many brilliant people. Many of these people are published authors. In fact, I have had personal contact with the authors of four of the first thirty-seven books I’ve read in my project. I consider myself continually blessed to know them and, in some cases, call them friends.
Being around such brilliant people brings to the forefront of my mind the ever-pressing need to learn more myself. I’ve been blogging for a while, but I someday hope to write a book. I’ve started to write books only to realize that I haven’t accumulated enough knowledge to fully flush out an idea. By 2020, after having lived for 33 years and read 1,000 books, I think I may have then earned the right to write a book. Until then, I will be in research phase.
My Challenge for You
I know people who can count on one hand the amount of books they’ve read in their entire lives. To me, this is a tragedy. However, I understand that most people aren’t as obsessed with reading and/or aren’t willing to make the time to do very much of it. So, I don’t expect anyone else to read 1,000 books by 2020.
My challenge for you is to read 1,000 books in your lifetime.
Document what you read and what you’ve learned from it. Share what you’re reading on Twitter using the #1000books hashtag. There is a vast wealth of knowledge waiting to be discovered. Don’t ignore it.
What are you reading RIGHT NOW? Share it in the comments below. Not reading anything? Pick up a book already!