How many books did you read in 2021?
How many books do you plan to read in 2022?
Gallup has come out with its annual survey of reading habits, Americans Reading Fewer Books Than in Past, and here is the bottom line finding: “Americans say they read an average of 12.6 books during the past year, a smaller number than Gallup has measured in any prior survey dating back to 1990.”
Two problems with this:
#1 – they are asking people to remember how many books they read in the last year. And, people do not always remember well.
#2 — they are asking people to remember how many books they read in the last year. And, to be blunt about it, people tend to over-report desired behaviors rather than their actual behaviors in such surveys.
(For example: a number of years ago, some serious researchers concluded, after some extensive actual counting efforts, that people vastly over-reported their church attendance practices to the Gallup survey folks).
But…let’s say that this is true: that the average American reads 12.6 books per year. Then you have to probe a little more deeply into what kinds of books.
I read at least 12 thrillers and mysteries a year. Daniel Silva, and Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout), and Orphan X (Gregg Hurwitz), and John Grisham, and… I thoroughly enjoy this reading, but it is not my “serious-reading-to-learn” reading.
So, if one were to take out all of the thrillers, mysteries, romances, fantasy books, and other fiction, one wonders how many “serious-reading-to-learn” books people read in a year.
Now some people are book readers of the highest order. They read many, many books. If you are one of those, skip the rest of this post. You’ve got this down.
But for the rest of us, I have a simple proposal. What if you aimed to read one serious-reading-to-learn book every two months. Six books for the year.
(Your other 6.6 books to make up the 12.6 can be six thrillers or mysteries or…, with one short story thrown in).
Six serious-reading-to-learn books for the year seems realistic, and doable.
And, now, what books do you read? This is where it gets especially difficult. The temptation is to primarily read new books. I read plenty of new books each year for the First Friday Book Synopsis and the Urban Engagement Book Club, where I present a total of three synopses of books each month.. That’s my job…
But, if you ask me what books I would most strongly recommend, and you give me a category , I would have some mix of older books with an occasional newer book.
The First Friday Book Synopsis focuses on business books. So, for example, if you want to read about:
Time Management – I would recommend Getting Things Done by David Allen.
How to actually encourage the people you lead (a rather big-time job for every supervisor/manager) – I would recommend Encouraging the Heart by Kouzes and Posner.
How to make a bigger impact in your current position – I would recommend Impact Players by Liz Wiseman (this book was recently published: 2021).
Aim for books that are the “classic” selections in their category. Learn the basics first. Then, read to expand your understanding with additional books in future months/years. If you choose wisely, and do what the books recommend, you might be more effective; productive; successful.
To get started: pick six categories for your six books. Google “what is the best book on __________?” Then read those six books.
(Suggestion: read through this blog. I have quite a few suggested reading lists. Like this one: Five+ Categories – 28 Books – A Whole Lot of Learning.
Here’s an analogy: think of the classic pieces of a basic wardrobe. Get a few pieces right; buy high quality; and you are good to go.
So, think of the tasks before you. Pick out the best, classic books dealing with those issues. Choose serious-reading-to-learn books. And then, read them; read them well, thoroughly, thoughtfully. Read to learn. And then put what you learn into practice.
Now…what books will you read in 2022?
Here are a few more of my “suggested reading lists” that I have posted on my blog. Yes, this is way more than six books. But peruse these, and they might help you choose your best-six selections for the year.