Leaders are readers. In fact, reading is one of the most effective ways to learn and grow from experts without paying a huge price tag. I try to read at least 50 books every year, though this number has dropped a bit since I started writing and blogging.
As a leader, it’s important to know why you read. For me it’s to challenge and expand my thinking and imagination in key areas of interest.
You must also identify what you read. “What” are the types of books that will help you accomplish your why.
But it’s also critical to know how you read. How you read plays a huge factor in how much benefit you get from your reading.
This year, I made a big discovery about how I read. Over the last few months, I’ve slowly moved away from using a digital reader. In the new year, I’m making a commitment to quit using digital books unless absolutely necessary.
This is a huge step for me. I’m usually close to the forefront of technological changes. I’ve owned an Amazon Kindle since 2009. (The original launched in 2007, but I couldn’t afford the original price tag.) I have bought a new Kindle regularly since then and handed down the old ones to my family. I have hundreds of books in my Kindle library. In 2016, I got an iPad Mini and decided to stop carrying both a dedicated e-reader and a tablet. I moved all my reading over to the iPad.
But earlier this year, I started experimenting with exclusively using analog books and have decided to quit digital books. If you’re a reader – or aspire to be one – you may want to try analog for these five reasons.
1. You read faster.
Several years ago, I read Breakthrough Rapid Reading to increase my reading speed. The biggest trick I learned is to use my finger to trace the words. Yes, it looks like you’re in kindergarten, but it keeps your eyes focused on the text in front of you, instead of skipping all over the page.
Using this trick, I found that I can read faster with a paper book than an e-reader. I don’t know the science, but there’s something about putting my finger on a physical page that makes me read faster. You can’t do this with a digital reader. It interprets your finger movement as a command to change the page. I’ve found that I can read almost twice as fast with a paper book than with a digital book.Use your finger to read, and you’ll double your reading speed – or better. Click To Tweet
2. You remember to read.
With digital books, it’s easy to forget what books you’re reading. Your books sit on a device with thousands of other books that all look alike. Physical books sit on a desk or bedside table and remind you what you’re reading. They all look unique. Their very presence on your desk beckons you to read them.
I have a stack of books beside my bed that remind me what I am reading and what I want to read. I have the same on my office desk. It’s much easier to remember to read when you have physical reminders.
3. You remember what you read.
I’m an active reader. I take notes and “dialogue” with the author. Digital books let you highlight and takes notes but not to the degree that physical books do.
With physical books, I
- Underline significant passages
- Circle key concepts
- Draw a box around words I don’t know
- Write a Q by quotes I want to capture
- Take notes in the margin
- Write thoughts to remember or action items at the top of the page
- Capture major aha’s or discoveries in the back for quick reference
All of this helps me retain what I’m reading more effectively. Not all of that is possible with digital books.
4. You focus more.
When I read I often pause to let a thought sink in. When I switched over to reading on my iPad mini, it became easy to let my pauses turn into distractions. I would look at social media or check my email or browse Netflix. This led to less reflection and less focus.
This temptation was less with a Kindle. But I discovered that, the more I look at a screen, the more I want to look at screens.The more you look at a screen, the more you want to look at screens. Click To Tweet
Moving to paper books has increased my focus when I’m reading.
5. You share more often.
I love to share books with people. I think it’s one of my love languages. Sharing a book feels like introducing two of my friends to each other. Whenever someone tells me a problem they’re having or a goal they’d like to attain, I try to share a book that I have with them.
This is a challenge with digital books. Sure, Amazon’s Kindle has a sharing feature, but I haven’t found it effective. Because all of your digital books are hidden on a device, it’s easy to forget that you own it. This makes it difficult to share.
Physical books give you the ability to look at your shelf and remember what you read and how it impacted you. Their presence begs to impact others.
All of this adds up to why I quit using digital books (as much as possible). They’re great for convenience and quick delivery. It’s great to be able to carry around a thousand books in the palm of your hand. But, in the end, the benefits of reading a physical book are just too great.
Questions: Do you get more from reading digital or analog books? Why?
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