How To Finish 4+ Books Per Month (Even if You’re Busy!)


I’ve been keeping busy since I started working full time in June. A typical weekday includes 9 hours at the office, 1 hour at the gym (well, not as much lately), and usually a couple of evenings for social or sporting events. This doesn’t leave me with a lot of free time. Despite the absence of time I’m going through books faster than ever. In the last three months I’ve finished:

When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
Armada by Ernest Cline
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
You by Austin Grossman
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Free Will by Sam Harris
The End of Faith by Sam Harris
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I could ramble on forever about how much better my life is because of reading but I’ll save that for another time. Instead, I want to quickly share what I do to get through so many books. Maybe you can try it too.

How I’ve gone from consuming 1 to 4+ books per month:

Listen to audiobooks

Listening to audiobooks is how I finish roughly 75% of my books nowadays. This is because I can listen to them while doing other things. Cooking, cleaning, and exercising become opportunities to hear more books. I’ll do most of my listening at 1.5x speed on my bicycle ride to and from work:

20 minutes each way x 2 = 40 minutes of listening x 1.5 = 60 minutes of listening time

Let’s say on average most books are about 12 hours long. If this was my only reading time in a day I’d still get through about two books per month. After three months that’s as many books as the average American reads in a year!

I use Audible to purchase and listen to audiobooks. They’re an Amazon company so they can offer cool features like the ability to keep your audiobooks in sync with your Kindle books. I can get off my bike then open my Kindle and it loads where I finished listening. If you don’t have an Audible account go should sign up now. They’ll even give you a free book!

Practice reading faster

When you don’t have a lot of time to read you have to make the most of it. Learning to read faster doesn’t mean you are going to comprehend less, it means you simply read faster. I don’t put as much time into this as I should but I’ve done the following technique a few times. The first time I did this 20 minute exercise I found myself reading nearly twice as fast!

The exercise can be found here: Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes (Note: Yes, I sucked and did not improve 300%!)

If you’re too lazy for that simply start reading by moving a pen along the lines of the book, using your non-dominant hand, as you read. It will eliminate a lot of your inefficiencies.

Carve out at least 15 minutes in your day to read

Personally, I read after breakfast. I’ll share how I get up three hours before work another day. Sometimes I’ll read for 10 minutes and sometimes it’ll be an hour, but it will always be something.

Maintain a list of books you’d like to read

This is so I never find myself in a situation where I’m too lazy to find a book to read. I guess it gives me something to look forward to as well. You can check out mine at GoodReads!

To summarize; listen to audiobooks, practice reading faster, carve out a time for it, and maintain a to-read list. Hopefully some of these techniques can fit into your routine. If you want more details or have any suggestions be sure to leave a comment.