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Top 5 Myths about Reading Books

<Breaking Tsundoku - Part 5>

This post will cover:

  • What the most common misconceptions are about reading

  • Why these are unhelpful and slow you down

  • What to do instead


Myth 1 - You should read more!

Err...says who? Some of the smartest people I know don't read much at all. Even if you're surrounded by avid readers at work or in your social circle, reading is a personal choice.

Feeling like, or being told 'you should' read more is unhelpful because it creates unnecessary stress. Holding this in a reframed way such as 'I could' or 'I would like to' is better, and sets a more positive intention.

Myth 2 - Every word must be read!

When we learnt to read at school we were taught to start at the beginning of a book and read through to the end, word for word, line by line. This is because we were learning a skill. Building our vocabulary. Practising through repetition. However many adults have not been taught how to evolve this skill to be fit for (new) purpose.

This is unhelpful because when we're reading for information or understanding there are a whole range of techniques and tools we can and should apply to make this a more efficient and enjoyable activity.

Try approaching your next book with curiosity, and drop the assumption that it contains something magical that you need to know to make your life better. Take time to inspect the book first before deciding it's worth your time.

Myth 3 - Do not blemish the book!

There are plenty of purists and zealots out there who become instantly outraged at the slightest bent corner, margin mark or highlighted sentence. But you can't make an omelette without smashing some eggs - right?

This is unhelpful because in order to gain nourishment, or for the contents of a book to provide satiety we need to spend time consuming it. We need to carry it with us. We need an easy way of being able to return to the nuggets and great quotes.

2 great pieces of stationery for physical book lovers are highlighter pens and page markers / index tabs (those thin, coloured, stickies). E-book readers can also easily bookmark pages, highlight and make notes - just search for how to do this in your app / device of choice.

Myth 4 - I don't have time to read!

Yes, time is precious. There are many different demands on your time, but most people have the autonomy and ability to choose how they spend a few hours in each day.

If we assume the smallest unit of time you can find for reading is 5 minutes each day - did you know that this is enough to get through 7 - 8 books a year? (This isn't even taking into account inspectional or speed reading skills that can be easily developed)

Myth 5 - I feel guilty about my pile of unread books!

Here's the thing - books are incredibly patient. They will wait until you are ready. They don't mind if they aren't touched for months or even years.

Your unread books are a sign of your curiosity. They are a positive intention. They indicate a growth mindset.

Ditch the guilt and embrace the excitement of the unknown. The hidden treasures you've yet to discover. The words of wisdom that will stimulate your mind. When the time is right, you will find yourself dancing with the author, but until then view your unread stack with hope, anticipation and warmth. Nothing more, nothing less.


In Summary

  • Read as much or as little as you want

  • Skim read, dip in & out, pick up & put down - don't worry about reading front to back

  • Mark the book in any way you like to make it your own

  • Even with 5 mins a day you can read 7-8 books a year

  • Ditch the guilt, your unread books will be ready when you are

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