How to Read More Books Without Reading Books

by Mikey B

old booksA while ago my good friend and mentor Kevin Choo read a book called “The Slight Edge“.

The book talks about how the little things in your life add up over time, and how these little actions make the difference in your success – or lack there of.

I believe we all know this but seldom practice it. Why? Due to a lack of direction and purpose. I believe: the way you do something is the way you do everything.

When I started applying these ideas to my life I started making small but significant changes. I made my bed every morning religiously, I brushed my teeth every morning after breakfast and in the evening no matter how tired I was.

I started reading every day, ten pages at a time and started paying more attention to my finances; particularly the small numerous transactions I was making.

As I started to make significant gains in my life by fixing all of the small leaks I noticed that my standard of living continuously improved along with it. One change I noticed that I believe made the biggest difference was reading and listening to books.

The first habit in Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is be proactive.

At first this seemed like common sense. Anyone who wants to be successful has to be proactive right? What I didn’t know is that, like anything, if you want to achieve consistent improvement you have to focus on the process, and not the outcome.

I was caught red handed. I knew I could still be more proactive in my life, so I started studying like a lion, hungry for knowledge. What started as a small improvement to tidying my room compounded into overall personal development.

I began to see my life skyrocket into the places I’ve always wanted it to be. I became happier, smarter and more fulfilled.

One change made the most significant difference.

The secret I found to developing yourself is to turn your car into a “University on Wheels”. My small four-door sedan, once a barren wasteland for my odd objects and papers without a home, became my central source for knowledge.

Most of the fundamental books you can read now come in an audio book version, where a narrator (usually the author) reads the book to you.

In my own experience I found that, although I enjoy both books and audiobooks, I seemed to retain audio books better. There’s something exciting about hearing the author speak with their own genuine emotion. You can feel the emotion behind their words. I’ve found absorbing the information much easier.

Want to have an edge on everyone else?

Statistics Canada did a study in 2010 to find the average length of a Canadian’s daily commute to work, and found that “Canadian commuters took an average of 26 minutes to travel to work on a typical day, including all modes of transportation.”

If you double your daily commute (to and from work) and times that by the five days of the week you get 4 and 1/3 hours (or 260 minutes). That means for over 4 hours a week you can turn your mode of transportation into a valuable source of education. Rush hour doesn’t seem so bad when you are learning incredible information that makes your life better.

Through this process I have learned how to develop a better relationship with money, learned how to build my character based on principles, learned to express myself more creatively and I owe it all to my “University on Wheels”.

Try it for yourself:

Listening to an audiobook may seem like a boring task initially, but once you start I bet, like me, you will find it to be enjoyable and incredibly worthwhile.

Being productive is fun. The next time you tell yourself “I wish I was better at X” pick up the audiobook and start your own University on Wheels!

What book have you been meaning to read? Get the audio version for free with Audible:

About Mikey B
Mikey B is soul bound to the journey of growth. His genuine intent to better the world drives every movement, choice, and solution that Mikey B comes up with. Backed by a large heart, he has no plans to ever give up on himself, his students or the new experiences in his life.

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Clarke July 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Couldn’t agree more bro! I started listening to audio books to help make boring tasks more interesting. I think there awesome because you can get stuff done while listening where texts you usually need a quite place where all you do is focus on the book. Now I love doing dishes because I get time to hear entertaining books I always wanted to read. Do you have any suggestions for good free educational books? Links would be awesome!

Brian July 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Great article bromeo! I’m going to get a university on Bike for myself <3

Raph July 24, 2012 at 2:51 am

Yo Mikey! I love the idea of a University on wheels, definitely going to implement that idea. Smooth writing and hope you’ll be giving us more of these tips in the near future 🙂

Healthy Humanist July 24, 2012 at 4:29 am

You guys freak me out with how parallel this blog runs with my life sometimes. This last weekend I went searching through the company cars to see if they had auxillery jacks. I spend close to 4 hours in a car during my shifts and I just started looking through the app store for books to put on my iPad. I’d listen on my commute but I ride my bike and the trip is already dangerous as it is.

Great advice!

Mikey B July 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Clarke: I think that’s awesome that you are rocking the audiobooks right now Clarke. I definitely find it easier to find time to listen to an audiobook rather a hardcover book. That said I definitely think I get a lot of value out of reading tangible books. There is something about having a physical book in your hands. One book I would definitely recommend that is free is “focus” by Leo Babauta. The link is below! Though this is not an audiobook there is definitely value to be had. As of right now I have been fortunate enough to know people who have shared with me their purchased audiobooks and allowing me to stay free from to much purchasing. An idea would be to start working/studying with other people to share books, knowledge, and wisdom. 🙂

Focus Ebook: http://zenhabits.net/focus-book/

Brian: Much love hombre. Don’t run into anything by being distracted by knowledge bombs dropping.

Raph: Thanks for the comment homie! Glad that your going to use this tool and implement into your life. Will be coming at ya with some more tips in the near future. 🙂

Health Humanist: Good to hear that you are on your own path of growth! What Ebooks did you end up picking up?

Karim Saleh August 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Hey Mikey!

Great read! Love how you were able to turn something perceived as negative – traffic – into something that can be seen as a positive tool. Efficiency is key and flow to one’s life that supports your purpose can really change things for the better.

You’ve poked something in my brain through your article that is telling me I should be making my bed everyday. 😉 We’ll see about that one. I can see the point, but it seems like I could be doing better things with my time. I’ll let you know how that goes. Perhaps it is “the way you do something is the way you do everything”. And maybe it will help in eliminating artifacts from my consciousness.

Keep up the good work! 🙂

Cam August 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

It’s hard to take yourself seriously when you can’t even make your bed every day. 😛

Mikey B August 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Thanks for the feedback Karim!

I think that if you view the process of life as a constant growing “thing” then turning negatives into positives simply is a product of living a healthy life!

Making my bed everyday has been one of the single most important changes that I have made to my lifestyle. As simple as it sounds making your bed forces your brain to change your behaviour. On thing I love about the brain is that whatever you do you get better at. If you make your bed everyday you will get better at it but the underlying principle of organization and tidiness is what leaks into every facet of your life. It works for me and for the people who I have learned it from.

As a bonus I believe it has made me more humble because I look at who I want to be(my high level self) as a a person who is extremely organized and effective. I believe that that starts at the little things that someone does in their life when no one is looking. When I make my bed I’m not doing for anyone else more then myself. Try it and let me know what you experience 🙂

If there is anything you need let me know.

Talk to you soon.

Jack May 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Great article. Thanks for the info. I recently became an avid reader because I used to never read and felt stupid. I was stupid. I guess I still am but I am working on it. haha. I have a lot of catching up to do not reading books for 20 some odd years. Yes I would read the occasional book here and there but I gave it a try and found some books I actually enjoy and realized why people get hooked. I remember the other day at the library thinking, “Audiobooks? Why the hell would anybody get those over books? It takes away the benefits of reading.” You know the practice of focus and absorbing information. But now I see the reason very clearly thanks to this article and I am going to do it tomorrow. I drive with the radio off anyways 99% of the time because I heard all the good songs and now days stuff sounds like crap, political radio is mostly BS in my opinion, maybe they speak the truth but there is absolutely nothing you do with what they b**** to you about which leaves you depressed. And sports radio is……well,…..let’s just say I felt mentally challenged after a year of listening to it even though I do like some of the personalities. Now I have something to do that I already know I will enjoy while I am driving. Thanks again.

Cam May 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

@ Jack – Thanks for commenting. I’ve spent much more time this year reading as well! Let me know how the audio books goes! One of the other benefits I’ve found from listening to them while I drive is that it encourages me to drive slower, because I’m in less of a rush to get to my destination.

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