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.

Getting out of my comfort zone

I am very bothered by this book by Robin Sharma. It is irritating the fuck out of me! This blogpost is an attempt to vent out.

I hate every word of the book, but still I am painfully trying to read the crap Mr. Robin Sharma has written. The reason why I hate the book 5am Club is the following

  1. It is a terrible cliche and badly written peice of shit.
  2. It is forcing me out of my comfort zone.

So I am in this terrible place, where if i read this badly written book, I will be the bigger loser than Mr. Sharma and if the reason is number 2, that I am avoiding to read the book because it challenges me to get out of my comfort zone. As one of the primary purpose i picked up the book was I want to get the fuck out of my comfort zone. I am sick of the comfort zone!

Now I think I can get deeper than Mr. Robin Sharma

What is a comfort zone?

What if I am already living too much out of my comfort zone?

How does Mr. Sharma know that I am about to be eaten up by a blue whale and will dissolve in the whale stomach acid in minutes?

Anyway!

The blog has achieved it’s aim of venting out on Mr Sharma and his silly book. I feel like I should troll him by writing a book called 3:30 am Club!

Any publishers here would like to give me an advance?

A note on my first BYOB (Bring your own book) meet up.

After a long time, I enjoyed being in the same room (or terrace) with a bunch of people. On the verge of becoming a sociopath, I avoid meeting people in big groups but was quite relieved that I can stand or sit with strangers and enjoy myself.

Meeting the right kind of people in Mumbai is quite impossible nowadays. Most are too busy working on weekdays and spending time with their family on weekends.

The event at peacock store, which is about 3 minutes from my house. To be very honest I was more curious about the store than the event. However, I felt a few bibliophiles can’t do much damage, so I went along.

The event was well attended, and the venue ran out of chairs. Sitting right to me was an IIT researcher from Bangalore who is now in Powai a very soft-spoken and a sci-fi fan. The person on the left was from Goa and also into sci-fi. A little further to left was a guy from thane, who said he doesn’t read Indian authors, but hasn’t really figured out why.

Everyone was supposed to talk about the one or two books they were reading or recently read. What I realised was most of them were shy and spoke so softly that I could barely hear them. Additionally, the people said sorry to many times for any discomfort they might have caused.

I wondered why a lady who had a strong demeanor was so much into reading tragedy. I was a bit apprehensive that I would be judged for reading Indian authors like Kiran Nagarkar, but most of them were very positive. Jerry pinto seemed a favorite among Indian authors in this meet. People were raving about “Cobalt blue”.

Among the foreign authors, a couple of them were reading or read Neil Gaiman, but no one really liked his work. It seems he is popular, so he gets read.

Sci-fi author called Alan Moore, who I haven’t read at all seemed to be also very popular.

Anyway, that’s all I remember about my first BYOB meet.

 

Jen Beek / 500px

THE KING IN EXILE Sudha Shah.

The king in exile is a book about the last king of Burma Thibaw Min who was exiled with his family of 4 daughters and two wives in Ratnagiri from 1885 to 1916.

Why I bought this book – 

I have lived in Ratnagiri where my father used to live, and I used to go there and work in the factory , in the evening to socialise i used to hang out with my only local friend, and we would pass by this beautiful bungalow (almost palatial) called Thibaw palace. I was around 17/18. When I asked him about this, he told me that the Burma King was exiled here, I couldn’t believe it. My life was miserable in Ratnagiri as I couldn’t make a single friend, how could a king survive here?

About the Book :

The book is a grand tale of a family spanning across 3 generations, its melancholily sad to see a family which were the rulers being exiled for 30 years in Ratnagiri and after then thibaw children and grandchildren to live on government pensions till British independence.

The story is told in extremely non-judgemental way as it should be, the story is about decisions and choices we make as well as about how the political and social environment shapes our lives and futures of our children’s and grandchildren’s.

One of most important question for me it raised was how the entire Thibhaw clan was a spendthrift as shown in the book, like were they were genetically disposed to living over their means?? and always had to beg and plead with British Government for the money.

It a simple book without any literary trappings, also told in a diplomatic way as to not offend the Burmese and care seems to have been taken as to not throw muck. Do read it, if what I wrote interests you.