How I Read Over 50 Books in The Busiest Year of My Life

EDIT** — Disclaimer, I do not work for Amazon, or Audible I just love their products. If you want to get these books from the library or…

EDIT** — Disclaimer, I do not work for Amazon, or Audible I just love their products. If you want to get these books from the library or other sources power to you. I just find it easier going to Audible. I am flattered that you all think this would be a sponsored post ;)

Being a father, having a spouse that works full time, working full time myself on a startup, helping friends with their startups on weekends, being the best father, husband, son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, and friend I can be, doesn’t leave a lot of time to read.

So I stopped reading (mostly) and chose to listen to my books instead.

In a given week I don’t have a lot of free time, but I do have a lot of found time.

Daily walk to and from train, 4 hours / week.

Waiting for my son to fall asleep, 3 hours / week.

Cleaning the house, 4 hours / week.

Driving, 1 hour / week.

Grocery store, 1 hour / week.

Random solo errands, 1 hour / week.

This gives me 14 hours each week or about 700 hours every year to listen to books.

The length of books ranges a lot, especially when you are reading non-fiction. I love The Teaching Company’s offerings but they can run 30+ hours. I also just finished A Song of Ice and Fire, which was a heavy 200+ hours.

One of the biggest problems with audiobooks is that sometimes you just aren’t in the mood for them, especially dense non-fiction. So the system that I use is to always have at least 1 non-fiction and at most 1 fiction on the go at once. Audible makes it easy to switch back and forth while saving your position so that’s not a problem, and this gives your brain a break and makes listening that much easier.

Audible pro-tips:

  1. Listen to the preview first. If you don’t like the reader’s voice it’s going to be a struggle. This doesn’t happen often, most voice actors are incredible.
  2. Don’t listen to more than 3 non-fiction books at a time. You will likely gloss over details and you won’t retain nearly as much as you want.
  3. Buy paper books of the audiobooks you love. Audiobooks are hard to reference later, so having a physical copy that you can skim through is key, especially for non-fiction.
  4. Re-listen to books you love. Your brain will wander when listening and you will miss things. Re-listenting lets you get the details you missed.
  5. Download all books, don’t stream them.
  6. Buy a subscription.

The last one is key. Audiobooks normally cost around $25–35, so this year could have cost me $1,700. Instead, I buy a subscription which gives me 24 books for $9 a book. 100% worth it.

I do still read physical books, in fact, I read about 10 physical books this year using the traditional reading times: before bed, while Jack was napping, on the train, early in the morning etc.

10 books vs 50+ books, simple math. If you love to read, and miss reading because life is busy, leverage that found time and stop reading, and start listening.