How a Self-Proclaimed Slow Reader Finishes One Hundred Books Yearly

Author Ryan Holiday has some excellent advice to help you do it, too

Jim Farina


Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

“The road to knowledge begins with the turn of a page.”
Abby Marks Beale, author of 10 Days to Faster Reading

I was shocked that prolific writer and author Ryan Holiday is a slow reader. At least, that’s what he says in this article. He declares that one of his goals is to read one hundred books yearly.

People assume that Holiday is a speed reader based on the many book recommendations he lists in his newsletter. Not only does Holiday claim to be a slow reader, but he purposefully reads at a slower pace.

The truth is, even though I read hundreds of books each year, I actually read quite slowly. In fact, I deliberately read slowly. But what I also do is read all the time. I always carry a book with me. Every time I get a second, I crack it open. I don’t install games on my phone — that’s time for reading. When I’m eating, on a plane, in a waiting room, or sitting in traffic in an Uber — I read.

We don’t have to read with superhuman speed to get through more books

We want to read faster, but we want to retain more of the information we read. I have some good news for you. It’s much easier than you think, starting with shedding bad habits.

The book 10 Days to Faster Reading by The Princeton Language Institute explains how we can increase our reading speed in just a few minutes each day. Yes, as many people might imagine, it doesn’t take months and years of intense training. It’s a matter of practicing a few simple techniques.

So much to read, and so little time

I have a short stack of books on my bedroom nightstand. Some of them have been there for months. I dust them off now and then. It’s a pile of books I aim to get through eventually.

I also have an e-reader. That device also has an increasing queue of titles that are mounting up faster than I can ever read them.

My goal, of course, is to get through all of them at some point. But another title…