HOW TO: Read 26 Books A Year

Late in 2009, Julien Smith’s fantastic approach to reading inspired me to set an ambitious target for this year: to read one book every two weeks throughout the year. I even published my target list of books so people could hold me to account.

Well, the year is almost up and despite a crazy year, I’m happy to say I hit my goal. In fact, I’m on my 28th book of 2010.

Why you should try it

Implementing a structured approach to reading can be extremely rewarding. It can be tough to keep up with the daily schedule, but the rewards far exceed the effort.

Reading this many books will let you:

  • Expand your worldview by reading beyond your normal topics
  • Learn new skills and make you better at your job
  • Become more interesting – you’ll have more things to talk about
  • Come up with new ideas

On top of that, I found that this year was the year I’ve finally started to work through a whole bunch of books that I should have read a long time ago.

I thoroughly recommend trying this approach.

26 books per year… how?

How do you go about reading a book every two weeks, all year?

It’s simple – 20 pages per day.

That equates to 140 pages per week, or 280 every two weeks – roughly the length of the average book. For me, I fit in 10 pages on my commute to work, and another 10 on the way home. You might prefer instead to read for 30 minutes in the evenings, or do all your reading over coffee in the morning. Either way, once you break it down like this, it’s not so bad.

What to read?

I started 2010 with a list of books I aimed to read, but the beauty of this kind of project is its flexibility and the list changed substantially throughout the year. Here are the books I read in 2010 (Amazon links are affiliate links):

Non-Fiction

  1. Feeding Frenzy by John Harmon — read my review here
  2. The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by Tara Hunt
  3. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
  4. The Fall Of Advertising And The Rise Of PR by Al Ries & Laura Ries
  5. Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini
  6. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath — read my review here
  7. Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web by Brian Solis — read my review here
  8. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
  9. Persuasion: The art of influencing people by James Borg — read my review here
  10. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
  11. When the Headline Is You: An Insider’s Guide to Handling the Media by Jeff Ansell
  12. Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content by Mark Levy —read my review here
  13. UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. by Scott Stratten — read my review here
  14. Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Robert Cialdini and Noah Goldstein
  15. The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social
  16. The Communicators: Leadership in a Crisis by Richard Levick and Charlie Slack
  17. All Employees are Marketers by Richard Parkes Cordock
  18. Reading now: They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers by Romeo Dallaire

Fiction

  1. 1984by George Orwell
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  3. Historical Tweets: The Completely Unabridged and Ridiculously Brief History of the World by Alan Beard and Alec McNayr — read my review here
  4. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
  5. Black Order by James Rollins
  6. Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clarke
  7. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
  8. Deception Point by Dan Brown
  9. The High Road by Terry Fallis
  10. Cross Fire by James Patterson

Looking ahead to 2011

The other day I asked my Twitter friends what I should read in 2011. I’ll post those suggestions in an upcoming post soon.

Which books would you suggest I put on that list?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.