Why the “Number of Books I read” in a year is not the right metric.

I have been reading many articles on “how to read more books” or “how I read 50-75 books a year”. I think this is an incorrect metric to measure.

For starters – Some books are good in parts and not whole.

Why do I read –

It usually starts when I am trying to solve a problem. The end of 2019 I was struggling to set my Objectives and Key Results for my business. I partially read books by Joh Doer on OKR, and then a book on SCRUM by Jeff Sutherland. Now I had gathered some ideas how to set up Objectives and Key Results, and the process ( here scrum) on how I could go about achieving my KR.

But writing your Objectives or Goals and executing is two different things. I needed to know how do I executive or plan my tasks so I can inch everyday closer to my objectives. So I dropped the two books I was reading and jumped to a third books called “4 principles of execution” or 4DX.

I usually purchase about 50 books a year, but as per my GoodRead’s profile I have completed on 19 of them. I leave books at various stages. My time is more valuable, and the moment I have got the gist of the book I move on. I don’t want to finish the book for the sake of ticking it read.

Also, I do listen to audio books. It is easier and faster to read audio books. Books which are not cognitively heavy are best suited to audio listening. So in case someone only listens to audio books, they might be read much faster than a person who is reading a book, taking detailed notes and tagging them or creating flash cards for revision. In the latter case the person will finish less number of books but will retain more values than a person who reads 4x the number of books.

Measuring by the number of words read

If we could measure our learning, the number of words read would be a much better metric. Second order measurements like the number of notes taken, the number of times the note has been revised or converted into a flash card would also be a more accurate representation of our learning progress.

This measurement could be done by Kindle or some notes app like readwise. But I agree it is much cumbersome to do such measurements and until then we will keep seeing click bait articles about “How to read one book a week” or “How Bill gates reads 100 books a year”. I am seriously turned off with such articles on medium and other blogs. Hope we get some serious lead measurement which aligns with our goal.

If my goal is to become a coder, the most significant reads will be the book on coding or programming and not some books on writing.

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