Wednesday, 5 April 2017

How to read 200 books a year

I read an interesting post by Charles Chu recently on Medium (6 January 2017).

Apparently the average American loses 608 hours of their lives annually on social media, and 1642 hours in front of the TV (Chu, 6 January 2017). Ouch.  And if we think of the number of ...'alternative facts' out there, perhaps this isn't the best use of our time.

It probably doesn't improve our thought or decision-making processes, either.

Charles laid out the mathematics instead for how to read 200 books a year (Chu, 6 January 2017. Also see the poster with this article). Surprisingly, it works out at 8 hours a week.

However, if we do the mathematics a different way, we need to read 3.8 books a week in order to read 200 in a year.

I think it will take most of us longer than 2 hours per book - particularly if we are using talking books, which average around 10 hours in length.

I listen to around two talking books a week, plus my other on-screen reading... my talking books get listened to at night using my iPod and earbuds, as I go to sleep. I also do a fair bit of technical reading, as a PhD scholar.

So I suspect that it would take us closer to thirty hours a week to get four non-fiction books read. Then we have enough time budget to read two and listen to two.

But even thirty hours is only just over four hours a day. Ditch the TV and social media for three nights, and four books a week is pretty do-able.

Read on!



  1. Some of us read WHILST watching TV, it's the best form of multi-tasking.

  2. Excellent! Nothing like multi-tasking :-)