How to read more books (20 tips and why it is a great hobby)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Learning how to read more books empowers everyone from CEOs to hobbyists. Not only does it improve our communication and thinking skills, but it allows us to understand ourselves and even the world around us a bit better. Reading more about your job sector can also be vital if you're a jobseeker or a busy professional hoping to climb the career ladder. In this article, we look at how to make reading a habit that stays for the long term.

Related: How To Be a Learner for Life in 9 Steps

How to read more books

Reading books can have many benefits. It can broaden your knowledge and make you more understanding. There are also a couple of more surprising benefits. Literary fiction, for example, may improve our ability to connect with others. Other research suggests that reading consistently associates with a longer life. Below are 20 tips to help you read more books:

1. Carry it with you

Keys. Wallet. Phone. Book. Do this check every time you walk out of the door. Whether it's a couple of pages skimmed before meetings or some chapters knocked out on the daily commute, there are so many opportunities throughout the day to read. This trick can add up to hours of stolen reading every day.

Related: How to tell if a new commute to work is too long (with tips)

2. Pick a time

Effective scheduling allows you time for self-care and reflection, two things that reading can meet in one go. Read a chapter with your morning brew or unwind with a book before bed. Whatever method you choose, be consistent. Before long, you're likely to do it without a thought.

3. Create a reading environment

Have somewhere where you sit down and read. If you want to do something else, leave this place to do it. Settling down here tells your brain and body it's time to focus. A comfy chair in a quiet room is a start, but get set up near a radiator or where a window gets a lot of sun. Pillows, lamps and blankets are optional too.

4. Make the most of multimedia

Means of reading are limitless today, which means opportunities to read are too. Books fit into your handbag. E-readers fit into your heavy suitcase. Audiobooks fit into your morning run. It's also possible to listen and read on your phone, so you can carry whole libraries in your pocket.

5. Invest and commit

Put time, effort and, if you have it, money into your reading habit. The more you do so, the less likely you are to let it slide. You could commit to meeting a friend at the same bookshop every week or even register for a local book club. Show yourself how much it matters.

Related: How to become a librarian assistant?

6. Make it a force for good

Buy one book from your favourite charity shop every week. This way, you're contributing less to deforestation, saving money and paying it forwards to a cause you care about. These books sometimes have delightful marginalia too. Such shops also have fewer options, which helps if you struggle making choices.

7. Read online for free

Cost may never be a barrier to personal development. Fortunately, books that stand the test of time, a hundred years is the usual cut-off, go out of copyright and enter the public domain. That means most of the literature ever published is free to download, read and share as you please.

8. Read more books and get paid for it

Market research is crucial to publishing, which is why authors and publishers outsource to review websites that pay for beta readers. Some ask for line-by-line proofreading, while others simply want your final opinion. While higher pay goes to more experienced, verified reviewers, free books and pocket money never hurt anyone.

9. Go for a blind date

Social media has renewed the popularity of the 'blind date with a book' tradition in recent years. Simply obscure a book's cover with brown paper, then write a few keywords with its themes in mind. Whether you're buying from a shop or gifting to a loved one, it's an opportunity for reading free of prejudgement and full of mystery.

10. Set goals or guidelines

Set intentions before you undertake any project, as this ensures more direction and less procrastination. If you want to read a 350-page book, schedule enough time to read 25 pages per day. You'll finish it in a fortnight. You can also avoid that bewildering feeling some books give by deciding what you would like to learn before you start.

11. Start with quick-read books

Momentum is important for building new habits, so start small. Before you grab War and Peace, try a poetry collection or small volume of short stories. Some books have pleasing open spaces on the page or verses that play with fonts. Others use simple language and short chapters to convey brilliant ideas.

12. Start a reading challenge

Many platforms challenge you to read so many books in a year or finish lists on certain subjects. They add an encouraging social element to reading and gamify your progress. Challenging a friend or colleague to a monthly reading challenge can hold you accountable without the need for profile updates or networking.

13. Curate your own lists

Reading a book imparts knowledge, but reading several books on the same subject creates understanding. It forms connections and creates the fluency that is so valuable in the job market of today. Start by listing five books for each topic you would like to understand more. That way, you're reading what actually interests you.

14. Focus on you

Your tastes are what make your reading experiences interesting to you. Focus on what you want to read to make long-term reading habits far more likely. Listen to positive recommendations and ignore negative ones. The only good reason to put down a book is because you want to.

15. Do the 20 page test

Read the first 20 pages of any book before you buy it. This simple test can help keep you in good reading spirits. Most booksellers respect this too. Online distributors let you preview the opening chapter of audio or digital books, while physical stores have seating and even cafes for this purpose.

16. Keep a journal

A journal can be as simple, as in-depth, as beautiful or as scribbled as you wish. Copy quotes by authors you like on your phone. Keep a notebook of long reflections on your desk. When writing is part of reading, reading turns into a lifelong conversation with great ideas.

17. Keep a pen handy

If you prefer to keep things simple, remember that your books belong to you. You can scribble, annotate, underline and doodle. Writing in books forces you to engage with them, form opinions and think for yourself. You can put as much into reading as you take out of it.

18. Change the pace

Changing reading speed can greatly increase the excitement and insight to be found in texts. Difficult non-fiction books become more structured if you first scan through the text at speed. Content tables, subheadings and chapter conclusions can give you the overall shape of the author's message. Reading then becomes about filling in the gaps. Slowing down has the opposite effect. Lines of poetry let out new rhythms. Characters' intentions become clearer. These moments can be so significant that they change the text's entire meaning.

19. Can't read anymore? Try reading less

Forget month to month. It's normal for concentration levels to vary based on what you had for lunch. Be kind to yourself if you find reading slow or difficult. Read less for a while. Make your goals smaller. When you focus on quality over quantity, your engagement comes back. So does the joy.

20. Dive into the wider reading world

The literary universe is vast and is full of magazines, podcasts, video interviews and so much more. There are books about books. There are books about books about books. Reading can be a lifestyle as much as a hobby and making the most of this can pique your interest when turning the television on becomes tempting.

Related: Step-by-step guide for how to become a podcast producer

Why is reading a great hobby?

Reading is as powerful as habits go. It's low cost, high return and beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Learning how to read more is a great choice for anyone who aspires to greater understanding and personal growth. The best time to start is now. All it takes are small changes to your environment and mindset. Take your time, lean in and remember that it's supposed to be fun.

Explore more articles