How To Read 100 Books A Year

Does your reading list keep growing? Did you buy books that you’ve never read? It might be time to cross more books from your list this year than ever.

If you’re reading less than you want, you’re not the only one. One year ago I looked at my Goodreads page and noticed that I had read only five books in 2014. That realization frustrated me.

I love books, but since I graduated college in 2011, I’d been reading fewer books every single year. My work and life got in the way of reading as much as I wanted.

Why read 100 books in a year? You read because you want to learn from other people’s experience. Otto von Bismarck put it best:

“Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.”

If you want to get anywhere in this world, you need to educate yourself, and to educate yourself you need to read—a lot. Here’s how to do it.

1. Buy In Bulk

It costs money to buy books, and it costs you time to read them — I’m assuming you have both if you’re reading this. Everyone can make time. And if you don’t have money, find a way to make or save money.

As Dutch Renaissance man Erasmus once said:

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

Be assured, the money and time you spend on books are worth it. I can’t think of a better investment. Books are only a waste of money if you don’t read them.

If you want to read more, you have to buy more books. Some people don’t get it. They spend $200 on new shoes, but they find it ridiculous to buy 20 books from Amazon.

The idea is simple: If you have more books in your house, you’ll have more choices, and this will help you read more.

Here’s why: Most of the books you read are not planned in advance. You don’t sit down in January and say: “The first week of June I’ll read this book.”

You finish a book, look you at your inventory, and decide what to read next. Don’t overthink which book you should read next—you’ll end up reading reviews for hours, which is a waste of time.

For example, most people who want to start with Stoicism ask me: “Which one should I read first—Seneca, Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus?”

Buy them all. Read them all.

Having an inventory of books keeps up the momentum. You also never have an excuse not to read.

2. A(always) B(e) R(eading)

You might have heard of the term ‘ABC’ from the play/movie Glengarry Glen Ross: Always Be Closing. Many salespeople and entrepreneurs live by that motto.

I live by a different motto: Always Be Reading.

I read a minimum of 1 hour per day on weekdays and even more during the weekend and holidays.

Find a way to read around your schedule and your life situation. Don’t make excuses like you’re tired or too busy.

Always Be Reading means that you:

  • Read on the train
  • Read while you’re breastfeeding your baby
  • Read while you’re eating
  • Read at the doctor’s office
  • Read at work
  • And most importantly — read while everyone else is wasting their time watching the news or checking Facebook for the 113th time that day.

If you do that, you’ll read more than 100 books in a year. Here’s how. Most people read 50 pages an hour. If you read 10 hours a week, you’ll read 26,000 pages a year. Let’s say the average book you read is 250 pages: In this scenario, you’ll read 104 books in a year.

With that pace—even if you take a two-week break—you’ll read at least 100 books in a year.

That’s a good return of your time investment. What’s the ROI of reading the news? I don’t know exactly, but it must be negative.

3. Read Relevant Books Only

Have you ever read a book that’s supposedly amazing and you don’t get it? I wouldn’t go as far as saying that any book sucks because people spend a lot of time writing and editing a book.

But not all books are for everyone. A book might be a best-seller, but maybe you can’t stand the writing. Or maybe it’s not the right time to read a book.

In any case: If you can’t flip through the pages, put the book away and pick up something you are so excited about that you tear up the pages.

Read books that are close to what’s going on in your life. There’s a book for everything you can think off. People are writing books for 2000 years, and there have been plenty of people in your shoes: struggling teen, aspiring artist, broke entrepreneur, new parent, etc.

Don’t waste your time reading about subjects you have zero interest in.

Instead, pick out the books that are related to your profession or hobby. Read books about people that you admire. Don’t read a book just because it’s a best-seller or a classic if it has no meaning to you.

4. Read Multiple Books Simultaneously

There are no rules to reading so you can do whatever you want. At times, I’m reading 5 books at once. I might read 50 pages of one book in the morning and then read another book in the afternoon.

That’s how I prefer it. Others like to read a book cover to cover and only then read something new.

If you’re reading something that’s complicated, you might want to read something that’s easier for the evenings. I like to read biographies before I go to sleep because they are like stories. Fiction also works well in the evening.

I don’t want to read a book about investing in bed with a highlighter and a pen. If I do that, I will be awake until 3 AM because my mind is buzzing with the new things I’m learning.

5. Retain The Knowledge

Knowledge is only good if you use it. To retain knowledge, you need a system that helps you do that. This is how I do it:

  • When you read a book, use a pen to make notes in the margins and highlight important text. If you’re reading digitally, be aware of over-highlighting. Just because it’s so easy you shouldn’t highlight everything you find slightly interesting. Keep the highlighting for ‘aha’ things only.
  • If you read something you want to definitely remember, fold the top or bottom corner of the page. For digital readers: take a picture and store it in a notetaking app you prefer.
  • When you finish the book, go back to the pages with the folds and skim your notes.
  • Write down (use your notetaking software or physical notebook) in your own words what the book is about and what advice the author is giving.
  • Copy the quotes that stand out the most to you.

The point is not to copy the book but to help you process the information so you can use it later.

Read as much as you possibly can — but never forget to apply what you’ve learned because that is what counts the most. You put in many hours to read books, make sure you get something out of it.



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  1. Hey Darius, absolutely loved this post. I’ve been neglecting my reading and this was just what I needed.
    Glad too see you also read more than one book at a time and fold the corners of the pages. All my friends think I’m weird when they see my books.

    Keep up the great content man 🙂

  2. I really was worried about myself because I am reading more than one book, but unfortunately you also recommend to do so, great advise for those who normally read more than 3 books at same time!!

  3. Lovely article. I read one book at a time, but I am definitely going to take your advice on lighter reading before bed. The book I am reading requires re-reading of pages.

  4. Your article is great! It’s just like books and the rest: we like what with agree with. The thing with people not having time to read is that they overdramatise the importance of reading. Reading is essential, that’s true. But mostly because every one has something to learn, feel and discover in a book. Most of the time people will just feel the need to read because they’ve told again and again how important this is : at school, by their parents, teachers etc.

    In the end people act the same towards books than food: they would like to read / eat better but they’d rather live with the guilty feeling of not doing so rather than coping with their anxiety about not doing well enough.

    The only thing I don’t agree with in your article is the price of reading. So many librairies and second-hand book stores exist. You basically don’t even need them. Starting by asking your friends if they have any book to give away or share could be enough to get started.

    Let’s be relaxed and let’s open our minds! Books don’t need to be finished, they don’t need to be likes. And you don’t have to read all the latest stuff everyone’s talking about. Books are pieces of freedom and knowledge meant to be accessible through time and space, that’s awesome!

    1. Thanks for reading, Axelle! I appreciate your thoughts.

      Second-hand books are great. But the thing with borrowing is: I can’t take notes or fold the pages. Also, I like to study books, not just read them once and move on. That’s why I like to own books.

  5. Thank you! Wonderful article. During my reading, an offer to receive two free E books popped up, but only one book for download, missing is Procrastinate Zero. Please advise.

  6. Awesome. I’ve been telling myself I should read more but I also kept asking myself how I can read faster so I can read more books. Your tips really helped and I will definitely improve on my reading. Thanks for writing and posting.

  7. I really enjoyed your article, Darius. Like you, I love reading, but over the past few years, I let life (and a stressful, if fun, kindergarten teaching job!) get in the way of my reading. At the beginning of the year I set myself the goal of reading 50 books this year (easily more than 10x what I read last year or the year before). Now reading your article I feel more motivated than ever….and I’m thinking my original 50-book goal may be too low by half!

  8. Great article Darius…I love to read!! and I encourage it often! A child of “pre-microwave and post “Pong” bored of playing outside with my older brother and older sisters hogging the TV watching ‘General Hospital’ I would read everything and anything…even the entire Encyclopedia my parent purchased! I enjoy all media; digital, hard cover and books on tape. I also love to buy 10 -15 used books from Amazon…great deals and the books come from bookshops all over! I’m always looking into new authors, the classics and my eclectic tried and true ones. Darius, I think it’s time for another Amazon order 🙂

  9. I enjoyed reading this article, thanks for sharing your experience , as you have mention above i like to learn from your experience and will start reading books..

  10. One word: library! Many people have access to a great library system, and the only costs are late fees. When someone I respect mentions a book (esp if I’m reading online) I pause to check the library stash. Not always a win, but I’ve done well. And retrieving from the shelf lets me browse adjacent titles for what looks interesting. I commonly take home a dozen books, read a few in their entirety, a few in part, and return the last few without going beyond browsing. (The dollar shelf to support the library has also been an excellent ROI.) Another option for the spending-conscious: borrow from friends who have books. Adventure awaits!

  11. Agree with reading almost anywhere, anytime, but recommend doing NOTHING else but eating when you are eating. Unless of course you never overeat.

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