I’m ashamed to say I suck at reading books.
I love books, I love their smell, touch and wisdom, but I almost exclusively don’t finish them.
I do listen to them, through this app called Audible.
Sometimes — I’m even lazier and just listen to the Blinkist app, which is a summarised version of books.
Last Sunday I found myself alone in a cottage in Northern NSW, just me, some cows and the morning sun.
My buddy Kate, a magical mermaid, invited me to a BBQ the night before and had found me this rad cottage for a kip, that was decked out and lived in by a Mycelium Scientist (AKA Frother for Mushrooms and their Networks).
He was away for the weekend, Kate dropped me off at about 10 Saturday night and was due to pick me up again at 930AM.
I awoke at about my usual time 630AM.
It was just me; some hills and the cows.
I had 3 hours to kill.
Actually, fck this saying — I had 3 hours to live.
On Sunday mornings, I try as best possible not to use my phone (Vice Optimisation) because the Baby Jesus didn’t check fb on a Sunday, or something like that.
And here before me was a bookshelf full of radness.
Science books, fiction, history, some super weird ones…
But one in particular one was Poppin’ — ‘The Alchemist’.
You know those books that are recommended to you over and over, to the point where it pisses you off that you haven’t read it.
This was one of them.
And my thought was, ‘you can’t borrow this Mushy guy’s book who you’ve not even met yet, so why bother starting…
I paused and said to myself ‘FO Benny you LC.’ *(I’ll let your imaginations work that out)
So I decided a welcome compromise would be to time my reading pace against the page numbers, 170 pages in 3 hours (180 minutes) just under a page a minute.
I allowed for ‘Benny Brain’ which means I will inevitably wander off to think about ‘if the cows are friends’ and ‘what they do when people aren’t looking’.
I gave myself an hour. And at first check-in was almost on course for success.
A little over!
So to hack the second hour I decided to focus on the dialogue and speed read the descriptions.
I’d also worked out that this book likes to reiterate the things from past pivotal moments.
This is good for a person like me who tends to forget key plot points, but in this instance, I knew I could smack a page out quickly by skimming over these sections.
Hour two I was on track and then three flew.
I finished with the book with 4 minutes to spare, so reread the last few pages again.
It’s a book with a stack of nuance and I feel like may have been a better read for me when I was traveling lots or in my late 20’s, none the less it is a ripping read and one I’d wholly recommend.
No doubt a tale I’ll visit again.
Here’s my favourite page and Line from the book.
So what did I learn:
1) I can read MF’n books now!!!
180 pages approx’ in one Sunday Session.
360 in two. You get the picture.
2) I like short books. I’ve started writing one and why would I write a book that I wouldn’t read in one session.
So how about I write my first one and aim for the 180 page mark?
When I was having a whisky in an infinity pool with one of my favourite writers, Steven Kotler, he said something along the lines of ‘Your first book isn’t going to be your best work, just make sure you get it out and you will only improve from there.’
Another piece of wisdom bestowed to me by a buddy Trevor Chapman said ‘If people who are doing what you’d like to do successfully give you advice to do that thing, just fkn do it and don’t even think twice.’
Put those pieces of advice together and you have a book sandwhich.
So Sunday morning book sessions for the win!
I’m keenly aware not to jump the gun and I should check back in when it’s become an ingrained habit.
But I know when a habit has a good start to becoming routine because my excitement for Sunday morning is resonating through my week.
& whoops, I forgot…
3) If you’re trying to get back into a habit you once valued:
Start small. Make it measurable. If possible, a cheeky hack won’t go astray. And finally, immerse yourself somewhere you can focus.
Find your flow.
Nature without technology is a pretty good way to set this up.
And ‘Cows over Phones’ any day!
- In case you didn’t work it was ‘Far Our Benny you Lazy Cow’*
P.S If you are frothing please give me at least a dozen claps… Unless it’s worth more than a dozen, then max that baby out ;)
P.P.S Check out my baby www.101tokens.com or contact me at email@example.com if you want to chat about anything rad.