Why it’s important to know your reading “why”.
365 books in 365 days.
The challenge seemed a little crazy to Jay Shetty at first, but it is a challenge that he proudly conquered a few years ago.
Jay Shetty believes strongly in the power of books and their potential for life change. These days, he only reads about a book a week, but the lifelong reader is committed to tenaciously pouring over pages.
“I find that reading is a super important habit,” Jay Shetty said. “It's one of the best ways to get centered, to find a new tool to play with, or to experiment with a new idea.”
It should come as no surprise that the most brilliant and influential people in the world prioritize reading and learning.
- Warren Buffet spends five to six hours a day reading newspapers.
- Bill Gates reads 50 books a year.
- Mark Zuckerberg reads books to learn about other cultures and backgrounds.
- Oprah Winfrey’s book club has ignited the passion of reading in countless others.
- Mark Cuban immerses himself in books about new industries and growth.
- Elon Musk had read the entire Britannica Encyclopedia by the time he was nine years old.
It is clear to see that Jay is not alone in his belief that reading is a vital part of effective learning and growth.
But sometimes, reading effectively seems easier said than done, right? How do people consume mass amounts of information and have it stick? Are there tricks to reading effectively at high volume?
Jay Shetty believes that there is a right way and a wrong way to read. In this article, he shares the secrets to both.
Know Your Reading Why
“The closer you get to having clarity on your vision for why you're reading a book, the more likely you're going to be a successful reader” said Jay Shetty. “You need to have your own reason and ask yourself, is it because you want to be entertained and have an escape? Is it because you want to learn new information to grow in your career? Is it because you want to find new ideas about how to improve your life?”
Having a why will transform the way you look at the book and process the information. With the why established, he turns his attention to three key mistakes he sees as the biggest hindrances to effective reading.
Mistake #1 – Books Must Be Read Cover to Cover.
Jay Shetty said often it’s not necessary to read a book cover to cover.
“That’s kind of like saying when you go shopping for your groceries, you need to walk through every aisle just to find the things you need,” he said. For someone short on time with a specific list, they don’t wander every aisle. They head straight to the section that is going to meet their needs.
Before reading, Shetty encourages readers to determine the need they’re hoping to meet by reading the book. This allows readers to stick to their why so they can get the most out of it, focusing on the parts that are speaking directly to their needs instead of letting focus get pulled by unhelpful material. For example, if you need motivation, go straight to the chapter on motivation.
“When you have a natural intuition and instinct about something, you're in your focus,” Jay Shetty explained. “You say, ‘This is what I want’. You don't just go to the grocery store to go, ‘Oh yeah, let's see what we find today.’ If you read a book like that, it's also the same experience.”
Mistake #2: Reading With Will Power vs. Reading With Love
“The power of love far outweighs the power of will,” claimed Jay Shetty.
No one likes struggling through a book because you feel like you have to read it. Not only is that not enjoyable, it’s also not effective. You’ll have trouble focusing and find yourself losing the place on the page, fighting to stay awake, and not remembering much of what was read.
“Read a book because you are passionate about the subject,” Jay Shetty encouraged. “If there's something you really love, something that you're excited to learn, something that you're energized when you hear about, speak about, or read about, that's where you want to throw your energy.”
Mistake #3: Buying Books Based On The Cover
Jay Shetty warned readers that committing to a volume based on what the cover looks like is a mistake.
Without reading the inside flaps or the testimonials, the reader doesn’t have a true sense of what the book is about. The cover may be beautiful or enticing, but it could possibly be misleading. Make sure to dig deeper.
Jay Shetty’s Secrets for Reading Success
Jay Shetty also shared his best advice on improving reading speed and comprehension.
“You don't need to learn a new language or learn a new process,” he said. “Your brain doesn't need to build an algorithm, and you don't need to download anything. You're actually going to be able to read more and read faster using these simple and practical tips that anyone can do.”
Secret #1: Get to Know the Author
Jay Shetty encouraged readers to get to know the basic focus of the author and the book before even opening the pages. Find a TED talk by the author or watch them speak on YouTube about their big idea.
“What I'm trying to do here is to grasp the concept of the book as quickly as possible,” said Shetty. “It allows me to understand the essential principles; the underlying thought behind the book from the author without having to invest a week or a month or however long it takes to actually finish a book.”
Shetty explained that learning how the person communicates or what the book is about will help foster understanding and focus during reading.
Secret #2: Highlight Your Focus
After discovering the book’s basic focus, Jay physically highlights the interesting parts to narrow down what he is going to read first and most intently.
“It’s like going to a menu at a restaurant and saying, ‘I really like the sound of that. I'd love to taste it. I really like the sound of that, that's what I want to learn about. Or actually, I don't think I need that right now.’ That requires you to be really conscious of what you're willing to gain from the book,” said Jay Shetty. Being strategic about the skills, information, and emotions that need to be developed will help you have a more focused and effective reading experience.
“If you know what you need, you will find the answers when you read,”
Secret #3 – Use Your Finger As Your Guide
“We have this fixation on reading every word, finishing every book and finishing every page,” Jay Shetty said. “The reality is most of us never actually achieve that.” Tracking words on the page with your finger and increasing the speed at which your finger moves helps speed up your reading.
“You're simply using your finger as the ability to start reading faster and it actually works,” he explained.
“I do that all the time. I will just move my finger and glide my finger across the page.”
Secret #4 – The First Three and the Last Three
Jay Shetty encourages readers to read the first three lines of a paragraph and the last three in order to grasp the concept and determine whether ingesting the paragraph as a whole is worth their time.
Sometimes, he claims, the meaning of the paragraph is held within those six bookend lines and time is saved by not going deeper.
Other times, you may discover the paragraph does not contain pertinent information and can be skipped. “Authors place a lot of emphasis in starting and ending paragraphs with key information. You are able to grab it and decide if you want to read the rest.”
Shetty encourages readers to write down information from what they have read, following the 4S formula. He explains that writing these 4 things down helps solidify the information in the brain:
- Story – a story that moved or inspired me
- Statistic – a statistic that blew my mind
- Share – a piece of valuable information that I can’t wait to share with someone
- Start – something I must start doing – habit, action, thought, idea
Shetty encourages readers to implement these practices and stay away from the three pitfalls as they endeavor to read more efficiently and effectively.
“Finishing a book is nowhere near as important as actually learning from it and gaining from it,” Jay Shetty said. It is always said that knowledge is power, and books are a gateway for that. Use these tips to read fast and read well.
On Purpose with Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “3 Mistakes We Make From Reading Books” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.