Reader for a Month
Curious to know what my life as a reader would be like, I immersed myself day in, day out, for one month in reading books. These are my stories and experiences from my month as a reader told through a series of questions.
Last edited: October 20, 2016
1. Why did you want to be a reader for a month?
What I love doing most in life is a mix of: challenging myself, discovering the best of everything, checking out different lifestyles and possibilities and finding ways to improve myself.
I do this through reading and by applying what I read and learn to my daily life.
It’s not so much that I have a passion for reading itself, as I have for the information that I get to extract through reading.
I often wondered what it would be like to spend my days reading and investigating new topics. Doing only that. Could I make a living out of reading? I didn’t think so.
When I added Be a Reader to my spin-off list, I didn’t consider it to be a real career opportunity like I do with the other spin-offs.
Despite thinking I wouldn’t ever be able to monetise a passion like this, I did want to know what it was like, having to only read–day in, day out.
2. What kind of books did you read?
I read only non-fiction books. From works on writing, photography and marketing to self-improvement reads on lifestyle, philosophy and every-day ideas.
Most people will find this a bit odd, because they would use a month like this to get lost in fiction.
However, not only did I not find a fiction genre that I’m deeply in love with yet, I also can’t help but to consider reading fiction, at this moment in my life, a waste of time.
Simply put: reading fiction doesn’t satisfy my hunger for education and information. I talk more about this and about what I do read on a daily basis in the post: What Mirha Masala Reads and Some.
3. How many books did you read and what was your favourite one?
I read about 15 books–and I don’t necessarily have a favourite in this particular lot. None of the books turned my thinking upside down, like for example 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey did.
However, I definitely think Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (on writing) and Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson (on photography) are both excellent books for anyone looking to get into these topics.
I also enjoyed the How To series from The School of Life (for example, How to Age and How to Thrive in the Digital Age) which are simple introductions into the world of philosophy.
These books are perhaps slightly too simple for the more seasoned philosophers, but because the material doesn’t go that deep, it does leave plenty of room for your own ideas and thoughts to develop.
One thing that completely disturbed me about the How To books though, is the shameless promotion of therapy. From a marketing point of view, it might seem like a good idea, considering The School of Life offers consultations on their website. However, ethically, it feels very wrong.
Furthermore, I’m a fan of everything that Timothy Ferriss does but his books are almost impossible to read. They’re these gigantuous pills. If you’re a stubborn reader, like me, and you try to read The 4-Hour Chef cover to cover, you’ll feel like you’re slowly being chewed on by a carnivorous plant.
However, the information that Mr. Ferriss’ provides in his books is top notch. So, do read them, but take the stuff dose by dose.
4. What was it like to be a reader every day for a month?
Having to do nothing besides reading day in day out was quite the experience. Not only was it a highly self-enriching month and have I learned many important things that concern my projects, I also felt like I was doing 15 different spin-offs in one month which was obviously a lot of fun.
Related reading: How to Make More Time for Reading Books
5. If you could do this month over, what would you do differently?
I would spend more time choosing the books I’d want to read. It was somewhat of a random process now and I think I could’ve had more use of this month had I carefully curated the material.
Related reading: 6 Tips for a Better Reading Experience
6. What lessons did you take away from this month?
It always seems impossible until it’s done. –Nelson Mandela
Remember how I told you that I did this spin-off for the sake of having a passion for it, even though I was sure there was no way to make money from being a reader?
Well, funny thing, I seem to have forgotten about Maria Popova. She’s the woman behind Brain Pickings and has been making a living for years now by reading books and curating her thoughts on them. Incredible, isn’t it?
All this reminds me of Alan Watts’ “What if Money Was No Object?” in which he advocates following your passion. Here’s a short excerpt to set the tone:
“If you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it–you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.”
I highly recommend you watch the following 3-minute video for the complete speech–it’ll give you goosebumps.
7. What are your favorite tools and resources for reading?
I buy all my books on Amazon and I only use my iPad or Kindle to read.
Lately, I’ve been scavenging Timothy Ferriss’ podcasts for books to add on my wishlist. His often highly successful, but always interesting guests, give away their favourite titles on his show.
8. What do you like best about reading?
How the written word can inspire us to change our lives and thinking for the better–like nothing else can.
Tell me what you think. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links match discussion pages for this post) and let me know: Would you like to do a reading spin-off? What kind of books would you read? And, what book inspired you to make an important change in your life?
Though I’m not reading 8h per day anymore, I do still spend most of my mornings reading books and blogs. For reasons inspired by James Altucher, I’ve added to my bucket list the pursuit of reading 100 books that are directly related to my business endeavours. Find out why and what the current count is in the blogpost: Read 100 Books Related to My Projects.