It’s been said that most CEOs and high performers read a lot. In fact, they read between 50 to 60 books a year. So essentially, readers are leaders. Even though I was armed with this information, I set a very modest goal for myself. I would do 1 book a month or 12 books in 2017 . I figured that was manageable and so the journey began.
I didn't want to just consume books the traditional way though so I tried something a little different. As a podcaster, I tend to listen to a lot of fellow podcasters and usually at 2x speed so I thought to myself, “what if I tried audiobooks and did the same thing?”
Once I started to do this, I noticed I went through 12 books pretty quickly. In fact I was done with my initial goal by the 5th month. After achieving my goal prematurely, I decided to go for the illustrious 50 books and i'm happy to say I surpassed that.
What I learned from this experience is that it’s super important to figure out your learning style. If you can do this, you’ll be one step closer to being able to take in information much quicker. Some people are auditory learners, some are visual and some are kinesthethic learners so identify your learning style. I realized that even though I liked reading physical books, I couldn’t seem to take in the information as quickly as I was doing with audiobooks so I doubled down on audiobooks and gradually trained my ears to be able to listen to them at 3x speed.
The other thing with audiobooks that I realized is that I could listen to books in many of my idle moments like when I was waiting for the subway or commuting. I could also listen while I was walking down the streets or doing things like laundry. Essentially, audiobooks created a scenario where I felt like I was always being productive no matter what I was doing. The result? As you can see below, out of the 57 books I went through, 38 of them were audiobooks or 66.66%. It was by far my favorite way to consume books.
After I readjusted my goal to 50, I also decided to be more mindful of the types of books I would read. Fiction or non-fiction? Educational books or books for entertainment purposes?
I ultimately chose a mixture of all the above but I was intentional about the topics of the books I went through. I chose to focus on developing and improving my core skill of communication whether it was across cultures or on stages.
If you want to be the best at something, you need to put in the work. I aspire to be the greatest communicator and speaker in the world and so I felt I needed to put in the time by going through books that trained me to be so.
I didn't just go through educational books though. I sprinkled in some biographies, comic books and fictional stories.
Lesson here: The more interested you are in something, the more likely you’ll read about that topic so start with what you like. As a speaker and consultant, diversity, inclusion and communication are things I’m passionate about so I started there.
And there you have it, 57 books! 38 of them audiobooks, 15 of them comic books and 4 of them either Kindle or hardcovers for a grand total of 19 non audiobooks.
50-60 books is totally doable. It starts with knowing your learning style then committing to speed listening or speed reading. Reading things in fields you’re passionate about and committing to it! Next year, I’ll be going for 60 but hey, I just might surprise myself again.
How many books will you be going for?
In case you’re interested in the books I went through, they are listed below:
- The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
- A Selfish Plan to Change the World by Justin Dillon
- Crucial Conversations:Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
- Gather ‘Round the Sound: Holiday Stories from Veloved Authors and Great Performers By Paulo Coelho, Yvonne Morrison & Charles Dickens
- Seeds for the Soul: Livingas the Source of Who You Are By Chuck Hillig
- Effective Communication: How to Effectively Converse in Any Situation By Lewis Fischer
- Emotional Intelligence: 50 Effective Ways to Inprove Communication Skills, EQ And Mastering Your Emotions By Kellie Sullivan
- Emotional Intelligence: An Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Developing your Emotional Intelligence By Harvey Stuarts
- The Compound Effect By Darren Hardy
- Emotional Intelligence: How to Increase EQ, Interpersonal Skills, Communication Skills and Achieve Success By Thomas Richards
- Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It By Kamal Ravikant
- Own the Moment By Carl Lentz
- The Art of Community By Charles Vogl
- The End of Average By Todd Rose
- Driven by Difference By David Livermore
- High Performance Habits By Brendon Burchard
- Braving the Wilderness By Brené Brown
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone By J.K Rowling
- The Argument Culture By Deborah Tannen
- Black Privilege By Charlemagne Tha God
- Race and Culture By Thomas Sowell
- Remarkable You By Chris Dessi
- I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons By Kevin Hart
- Return of the King: Lebron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Greatest Comeback in NBA History By David McMenamin & Brian Windhorst
- TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking By Chris Anderson
- The Inclusion Revolution Is Now By Maura G. Robinson
- The Inclusion Dividend: Why Investing in Diversity & Inclusion Pays Off By Mark Kaplan & Mason Donovan
- SET for Inclusion: An Underlying Methodology for Achieving Your Inclusion Dividend By Mason Donovan & Mark Kaplan
- Networking in an Inclusive World By Julianne Malveaux, Frank Wu, Donna DeBerry & Bev Smith
- Diversity & Inclusion: The Big Six Formula for Success By D. A. Abrams
- Overcoming Bias By Tiffany Jana & Matthew Freeman
- Between The World and Me By Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The New Jim Crow By Michelle Alexander
- What I Know for Sure By Oprah Winfrey
- Cultural Intelligence By Kerr Inkson & David C. Thomas
- Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are By David Livermore
- Leading with Cultural Intelligence By David Livermore
- After You By Jojo Moyes
- Superman: Earth One Book 1
- Superman: Earth One Book 2
- Superman: Earth One Book 3
- Superman: American Alien
- Superman Vol 1: Before Truth
- Superman Vol 2: Return to Glory
- Superman: Savage Dawn
- Wonder Woman: Rebirth Book 1
- Wonder Woman: Rebirth Book 2
- Wonder Woman: Rebirth Book 3
- Wonder Woman: Rebirth Book 4
- Black Panther By Ta-Nehisi Coates Book 1
- Black Panther By Ta-Nehisi Coates Book 2
- Black Panther By Ta-Nehisi Coates Book 3
- Black Panther:World of Wakanda By Roxane Gay
- The Power of Influence By Ty Bennett
- The Power of Storytelling By Ty Bennett
- What’s Your Mesage By Cam Barber
- The Business of Expertise by David C. Baker