How to Read Two Books a Week
100 books a year sounds like a lofty goal, but it’s not that hard once you break it down
Most of my friends know I’m interested in Stoic philosophy. When one of them wants to start learning about the subject, they’ll ask me something like: “Which one should I read first — Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, or Epictetus?”
My answer: Buy them all. Read them all.
If you’re reading less than you want, you’re not the only one. I love books, but since I graduated from college, I read fewer books each year. Loving books doesn’t always correspond to actually reading them, it turns out: My work and life got in the way of reading as much as I wanted. One year I looked at my Goodreads page and noticed that I had read only five books in the entire year. I was appalled.
I set myself a goal of reading 100 books a year. That’s actually quite reasonable once you break it down: Most people read 50 pages an hour. If you read 10 hours a week, you’ll read 26,000 pages a year. Let’s say the average book you read is 250 pages. In this scenario, that adds up to 104 books in a year.
Here’s how to do it.
Buy books in bulk
Reading can be a costly habit. To fully engage with it, you need to think of books as an investment — and the more books you have in your home, the greater your return will be. Buying books in bulk is a strategy I’ve learned over the years.
The idea is simple: If you have more books in your house, you’ll have more choices, and this will help you read more. Here’s why: Most of the books you read are not planned in advance. You don’t sit down in January and say: “The first week of June I’ll read this book.” You finish a book, look you at your inventory, and decide what you’re in the mood to read next. Don’t overthink the decision — you’ll end up reading reviews for hours, which is a waste of time.
Having an inventory of books keeps up the momentum, and it means you never have an excuse not to read. A book is only a waste of money if you don’t read it.