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How I went from reading 0 to 7 books a week

Published 9 months ago • 1 min read

Hey everyone!

I’m ashamed to say it, but I had gone a LONG time without reading a book. I struggled to find time to read, and books took months to finish. When it came to the last 1 hour of the day, I found myself consistently choosing to watch a YouTube video over reading a book.

However, in the last 2 weeks I’ve managed to read 7 books, and it’s all come down to one thing - text to speech!

Around 2 weeks ago, I started using my phone’s ‘spoken content’ function alongside the Kindle app to read books to me.

This has been a game changer for me, as I listen to books at 3.5x speed when I’m in the car and walking. I’m able to finish a book every 1-3 days and retain the insights from them.

As with any productivity strategy, I find that there are pros and cons:

Pros:

  • I’m actually reading books! - If it weren’t for this, I wouldn’t read any books throughout the year.
  • I’m able to retain a lot of the content - Even though the text to speech goes quickly, I’m able to keep track of most of what is said and bookmark the most important parts to highlight after my drive.
  • Avoiding fluff - Books (particularly self-help) are often full of examples and unnecessary content, so listening at speed allows me to glaze over these parts and extract the most important messages.
  • Free - Using the iPhone spoken content feature is free, as opposed to competitor software like speechify.

Cons:

  • Lower retention - It’s possible that I have lower retention of the books than I would if I was reading them.
  • Less Mindfulness - My car drives become less mindful, as I’m constantly listening to something.
  • Missing sections - The speaking speed means that I sometimes miss out on info. I also can’t highlight information when I’m driving, which means that I might forget useful quotes.

Given that the alternative to reading books this way is to not read books at all, I’m finding that this has been a great way for me to consume content in the car. I’ve also discovered that it becomes easier and easier to listen at fast speeds once you get used to it! This means that I can push myself to listen at a faster pace if I want.

Finally, it’s so easy to listen to a book quickly, which means that I can listen to a book multiple times if I want to gain more insight from it.

If you’re like me and you almost never find time to read, try giving this a go!

- Emil

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