“Each book opens up new avenues of knowledge to explore,” – Bill Gates
Bill Gates is one of the most famous figures in the business world. He is one of the richest men in the world, a philanthropist, an investor, and the co-founder of Microsoft, which became the world’s largest software company for personal computers. What is more interesting to note is that Gates is an avid reader.
Everyone wants to be rich and successful like Bill Gates. And one of the most important key habits that we all can learn from him is his relentlessness in learning and reading. Gates developed his voracious passion for reading since a very young age. When he was a fifth grader, he read almost everything from novels to science fiction, and he even read the encyclopedias. And because Gates was so obsessed with reading, his parents had to set a “no reading policy” at the dinner table.
Even up to this day, Bill Gates continues to read. And recently, he reveals that he reads at least 50 non-fiction books a year. He also says that he prefers to read non-fiction books because they explain how the world works and he simply loves science and reference books.
Most people will have the questions: “how did he manage to read so many books a year?” And “how does he read?”
This is exactly what you are going to discover in this article. Below are some of the tips that Bill Gates shared during an interview.
Take Notes in Margins
According to Gates, in order to get the most out of the book while you are reading, you must take notes in margins. This is what most people will never do when they read. For most people, they will just pick a book, sit comfortably and start the reading. Even when a remarkable idea hit them while reading, they choose to continue with their reading. And after the reading, there’s a high chance that they have forgotten about the ideas.
Never let this happen to you. Bill Gates says that he reads and stops occasionally to write down ideas that he finds interesting. You must do the same. When you write down something, you reinforce the ideas in your mind. This way, you will remember better. And more importantly, you can truly focus on getting the most out of the book than just simply read for the sake of reading it.
Don’t Start What You Can’t Finish
Another important principle shared by Bill Gates is that you should not start what you can’t finish. He simply chooses to avoid reading any book that he can’t see through an end.
This principle may be a little difficult to grasp, but when you keep starting but are not finishing, it leaves out a lot of misunderstanding key points and gaps from the books. Plus, reading is a habit. And when you keep on starting reading a new book without finishing it, this will develop in your character and will show in your real life.
So choose to finish what you start. If you can’t see that you can finish a book, choose not to read it.
Read Physical Books than eBooks
Gates says that he will make the switch from reading printed books to digital books and he also says, “But when I’m just sitting there at night reading, often the paper magazine or the book, I’m used to that.”
Of course, you can choose to read a physical book or an eBook, the content is the same, but when it comes to the comfort of reading, physical books will win. This is because your eyes strain and you will feel tired if you stare at the screen for a long time.
Therefore, find what works best for you. For instance, when you are commuting or waiting, you can read a digital book from your tablet or your phone. And when you are free, you can choose to read physical books. Make the reading process enjoyable so that you will want to do more of it.
Block an Hour to Read
Finally, Gates shares that if you really want to read a lot and get the most from reading, you must block at least an hour each day devoted to reading. He says, “This is not the kind of thing you can do five minutes here, 10 minutes there. Magazine articles or short YouTube videos fit into those little slots.”
Time-blocking is one of the most powerful productivity techniques that anyone can leverage to get things done. And Gates has been using this technique to read as much and learn as much from books. If you are serious about reading and making it part of your life, this is what you must do too.
Commit at least an hour of uninterrupted time for reading. And when you are reading, do not get distracted or do other things. Concentrate on the reading, taking notes and pondering about what you have read.
Bill Gates also says that reading is not just about going through the words, when you put in attention into thinking and relating what you have read with your life, the value of the book increases significantly. And this is how you can get the most out of reading a book.
These are the four tips that the billionaire, Bill Gates shares on how you can get the most out of a book and at the same time, Gates also says that rather than reading passively, you must transform your reading into an active habit.
For most people, reading is an enjoyable activity and an act to learn more, but it can be much more if you are willing to make the process becomes an intellectual exercise to strengthen your mental muscles. And when you do, you will be able to develop your ability to think creatively, and to learn actively. Reading then will become your way of life that will transform and change your life for the better.