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How to read more books!

Dean Paarman
July 22, 2021

They said: Read more books!

I knew they were right. I'm talking about my parents, my teachers, my mentors and my role models. They all repeatedly told me about the incredible value of reading. How it would bestow upon me intellect and wisdom, financial success and freedom. 

That sounded great. I always wanted to read more, but I never did. Over the span of 17 years as an adult, I read no more than 5 books. Truthfully, I didn't even read my set-work books at school. How I passed with fairly good grades is still a mystery.

It was impossible for me to turn reading into a habit. 

I did try. Funny enough, when I started any one of those 5 books, I got really into it. While reading I thought: "This is great! I should do this more often."
Then I'd finish the book, and that would be it for another year or three.

When I joined the ikario team however, all of that changed.

Building a reading habit

Over the last year I have read 16 books and I'm currently busy with another 3. What the hell happened here?  

Well, it wasn't just one thing. There were three phases: 

  1. Accountability
  2. Value
  3. Hunger

Accountability

One of the first ikario team projects was to start a book club. Each team member was given a book to read.  We would then present our most valuable take aways to the rest of the team as a way of "transferred learning". 

A roster was drawn up and I had two weeks to complete my first book. The pressure was on. I wanted to show the team that I can do this! 

I actually felt quite intimidated by the rest of the team at first. They seemed to all have been reading books for years. And most of them are younger than me too.

I devoured that first book and I thoroughly enjoyed presenting what I had learned. A sense of accomplishment washed over me and I was immediately drawn to start the next book. I had 6 weeks before it was my turn to present my findings again. Game on.

A desire to present the team with lessons of value, overpowered any signs of "reading procrastination", which had previously been my norm. I was accountable to them. But this was only the first step in a process that changed everything for me.

Value

The first 3 books were all from Shane's recommended reading list. This was exactly the kind of stuff that I needed to be reading. Somehow I had never managed to find books that resonated with me on this level.

The books I had read previously were enjoyable, but they didn't provide me with any real value, other than a bit of entertainment. And there are plenty of sources of entertainment much juicer than books. It was no wonder that I never felt compelled to pick up another book and do it again. 

My third selection for presenting to the team was "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari. This changed everything, again.

Reading Sapiens reminded me of the kind of blog article or wikipedia page I enjoyed reading. (Just because I didn't read books all those years, didn't mean I was a complete cave man.)

The difference between the online content and the book is that the book kept going deeper and delivering more. It was an epic saga, not just a narrow glimpse, into a world of information that I absolutely loved.

I would not need accountability or a push to read another book if it was like this. From that point on I started looking for books that intrigue me on that level. Books that are valuable to me.

Not all of them are always a hit, but I came to realise that there are more amazing books out there than I could ever read in my lifetime. All I needed was a push in the right direction. Shane's reading list was that direction for me. 

Hunger

By the time I had completed 6 books in the span of only a few months, I lost interest in counting how many I had read. (I actually had to do a count to know how many it was this last year. I was shocked to see it was at 16 already!) 

The desire for more has become my motivation to read. I have a genuine hunger to know more, to be more than I was before. To learn, to grow and make everything better. 

They were right, one should read more books I just needed the right set of circumstances to show me how.

Want to read more yourself?

If you are in the position I was a little over a year ago, and you want to read more books, then I recommend implementing the accountability aspect right away. Start a book club with a group of friends or colleges. Do some research on topics that interest you and hold yourself accountable to presenting the book to them.

It is important to note that your presentation need not be a book review. It does not have to be a recollection of the chapters and the story, but rather focus on the take-aways, the lessons that resonated with you. Share what value you got from the book.

If you don't have a place to start, have a look at Shane's Recommended Reading list or start a conversation in the ikario community asking for recommendations. 

By becoming an ikario member you can watch recordings of our book presentations. I would also personally like to invite you to present a book that has been valuable to you in our community. Join us and become part of the ikario tribe. 


Dean Paarman

About the author

Enthusiastic, optimistic, easily motivated and passionate about people and creative projects. His hunger for skill diversification has often led him off the focussed path, but he always finds his way back, in a better position than he was before.

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