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How I Read One Book a Week



How I Read One Book a Week

Jim Rohn said, “when you learn more you earn more” and “work on yourself more than on your business”. Rohn has some incredibly successful students like entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Robbins and Publisher of Success Magazine, Darren Hardy, so I figured he must be on to something. While the internet is a wonderfully rich resource at your fingertips, it’s also a minefield of distraction, so I set myself a target of reading 45 non-fiction books over 2015. Here’s how I did it.

How to read one book a week

1.) Reading Is Transformative 


What is reading?

According to Tony Buzan, whose students include a six-time winner of the World Speed Reading Championships, reading comprises seven parts: recognition, assimilation, comprehension, understanding, retention, recall and communication. The end result is transformation. You read to get a result.


It’s a pointless waste of time thundering through a ton of books if you can’t remember the content months later. I recognized this problem by the time I was on my sixth book. I’d read several delicious books with numerous insights, yet I could only recall two or three points six weeks later.


Archive to amplify recall


To keep track of those insights, take notes. You can use pen and paper or an app like  Evernote, Microsoft’s OneNote or Google’s own Keep. I create a new note for each book under a folder named“Notes on Books I’ve read”. After reading a chapter, I summarise it, noting key insights, aha’s and anecdotes. Archiving slows you down a little, but it’s a great investment of time, when you can look back and immediately recall what you’ve read and key chapters you can refer to for a refresher.


Alternatively, you could set up an account on Tumblr, Medium or WordPress and summarise each book you’ve read. This is how Farnham Street a renowned site that helps people master the best of what others have figured out, started out; the founder wanted to record and recall the books he’d read. Sharing on a public platform may take extra effort but the ability to teach and simplify what you’ve learned to someone else further boosts your recall of the material.


2.) Best Practices and Tactics For Reading


Just like any performance endeavour, you need game-plan. For reading, it’s simple: ask yourself, “what do I want to get out of this book?” Be clear about it and make sure to do this before you start reading.As you roar through the pages, those parts related to your objective will jump out allowing you to focus more attention on that content. Seek and you shall find.


Also, don’t be afraid of skimming through books. Too much repetition is one of the biggest complaints you’ll find in non-fiction book reviews yet publishers continue to demand minimum word counts for specific genres under the illusion that a book of a certain thickness is a greater perceived value to the reader. A lot of books in the non-fiction domain can be published in half the words so skim away!


3. What is Your Technique For Reading?


Next, you’ll need to address how you read because chances are, your reading speed isn’t fast enough to achieve the results you want. When we’re taught to read, we are usually trained to sound out each letter or syllable.The vast majority of adults go through life with elementary reading habits like reading one word at a time or back-skipping. This approach is inefficient and unnecessary.


The need for speed


Often I’d read whole paragraphs not knowing what on earth I’d read. So I decided to learn how to speed-read. Within three weeks of reading Tony Buzan’s The Speed Reading Book, my reading speed accelerated from 250 words-per-minute (which is average) to 850 words-per-minute.As a result I devoured a 250-page non-fiction paperback in under five hours over a weekend.


Speed-reading technique teaches you to broaden your “visual-gulp”, using your peripheral vision to take in more words on a page at a time, enabling you to get the gist of what’s being said. It’s unnecessary to read each and every word an author writes.


Before you read each page, quickly skim down the entire page. Then, using a pencil or your finger as a guide, zig-zag down the page, letting your eyes take in more words at a time. Using a pointer helps you focus, capture the words around your pointer and accelerate your reading speed.


4.) Find the Best Time To Read


You have to schedule time to read daily otherwise other activities will take priority; this is especially important early on, as you’re developing the habit. Before setting my reading challenge, I was addicted to my phone, frequently reaching for it on commutes to and from meetings, thumbing through page upon page of social networking sites.


If you use public transportation, you can probably gain two or three hours a week of reading time during your commute. To eliminate the temptation to reach for my phone, I removed all social media apps. Instead, I now reach for my book or use the Kindle app on the phone. Soon enough, reading on journeys became a habit.


Eliminate waste

Another major time sap is TV (or Youtube or Netflix or Hulu). We waste so much time watching TV. According to Statista, daily viewing per person in 2014 was 4.7 hours in the U.S.A., 3.6 hours in the United Kingdomand 2.6 hours in China. Social networking accounts for nearly 2.5 hours of daily online time as a global average. And reading time? The international average is a mere 24 minutes.


Stacks of research show TV does not give us the joy and satisfaction we think it does. But reading does. Take an audit of how much TV you watch and time spent social networking on a daily basis and halve it – in the UK that’s over twenty hours a week! Replace it with reading and you will more often than not get way more satisfaction.


I diarise 40 minutes of reading time every morning. I set a count-down timer and read with my coffee. It has become a delicious morning ritual that yields almost 5 hours of reading time a week. Assuming you achieve a reading speed of 500 words-per-minute, double the average, five hours a week is more than enough time to finish the average 80,000-word book every week.


Everyday Power

To summarise, before you start each book, be clear about what you want to learn. Not only will you get more out of it, faster, you’ll also separate the wheat from the chaff. There were some books I picked up and tossed aside because they weren’t meeting my objectives. Instead of slowing myself down and reading a book I didn’t enjoy, I moved on to the next one.


Improve your reading technique to help you achieve your goal. You’ll be amazed how subtle tweaks, like using your finger and moving it along the page and forcing your eye to take in more, can improve your reading speed.


Finally, make time to read. To make it a habit, tie it in with a treat. For me it’s a cup of coffee. When you learn more, you can serve more and earn more, so reading a book a week is a worthy goal to achieve.

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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