How to become a prolific reader

Reading time: less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article on how to become a prolific reader…

Everything I’ve read about Ryan Holiday should cause me to dislike him. He takes pride in exploiting the media. He’s a former director of marketing (for American Apparel) who’s become a bestselling writer. And, worst of all, he’s only 27.

But his advice on how to become a prolific reader grabbed me by the eyeballs and wouldn’t let go. What he says makes so much sense! Let me quote at length from his column:

Look, where do you get the time to eat three meals a day? How do you have time to do all that sleeping? How do you manage to spend all those hours with your kids or wife or a girlfriend or boyfriend?…The key to reading lots of book begins with stop thinking of it as some activity that you do. Reading must become as natural as eating and breathing to you. It’s not something you do because you feel like it, but because it’s a reflex, a default.

I disagree with his argument that library books are a waste of time. He’s just speaking like an entitled rich boy when he says that. His line, “If you are OK giving the books back after two weeks you might want to examine what you are reading,” carries no weight with me. After all, how can you judge a book until you’ve read it? But I will confess that if I really enjoy a library book I’ve read I’ll often go and buy it later. Why? So I can have it as a reference.
People often ask me how I manage to read at least 52 books every year. As Holiday suggests, I always have a book with me. Reading is my default position. If you’re a writer, it should be your default as well.