* 2 min read.
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” – Mark Twain
I took one month off to tour Greece in August. It was my first time, it was beautiful, and a dream come true. But I spent 11 months in pursuit of boundless curiosity by reading 100 books on various subjects. It was as good as any Mediterranean adventure. I read to expand my vision of life. I never read 100 books in one year before. I wish I did this much earlier in my life. And this blog is about my one-year of a mental journey.
If you are interested to see the list, then everything I read is pinned on Pinterest 2014 Books board, under each book, I tried to write who recommended it. I also wrote reviews for some books on Amazon.
If you are only interested in the top two or three books I read, there is only one book at the top of the list. I feel obligated to increase awareness about the most important issue of our human race around the globe. Without any other comments, I ask of you to read this book: Marked for Death
There are a few ugly sides to reading 100 books in one year. My TV was off almost the entire year. I missed out on a lot of movies and news. Social interaction with my friends changed. I started to spend less time with them. The quality of conversation changed. I couldn’t connect with them at a deeper level. I started to feel I am wasting my time talking with some people. Playing cards became boring. And, the cost of buying books gets expensive over time.
Luckily, I have a good job and no kids. I paid more than one-month worth of mortgage for all the books I bought during 2014. 100 books in a year may cost $1,300.
The hardest part of this mental journey was the commitment, the discipline to sit and read every single day. At the beginning of the year, I was reading a minimum of two hours each day. My initial goal was to break my 2013’s personal record of 35 books. But after I read “The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau, I made myself a challenge and upped it to 100.
There are many tiny beautiful things about reading 100 books in one year. It was a mental journey through the vast universe of knowledge. While sitting down, my mind started to wander around the world through different centuries. It was my version of time travel.
I learned about Rasputin, the Alchemist, Leonardo Da Vinci, and many others. I visited the most distant galaxy in the Universe UDFj-39546284, documented in 2011. This galaxy is about 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away from Earth. I learned about a man who survived the concentration camps. I read about Leon Panetta with his worthy fights and the need for a New World Order for our planet from Henry Kissinger. I listened to the confessions of an economic hit man. I agreed with Peter Galbraith on the End of Iraq. And, I wish the American public and U.S. Government would put Paul Bremer on trial and hold him accountable for destroying Iraq and wasting trillions of dollars of American taxpayers money. It was an amazing feeling to read in Thomas Ricks’ Fiasco about U.S. Army Generals whom I translated for during their meetings such as David Petraeus, Martin Dempsey, Raymond Odierno, and Peter Chiarelli.
Initially, my reading strategy was one book at a time, finish one then move to the next one. After that I started to read two to three books at a time, sometimes four. I read about technology, self-help, history, biographies, and some fiction at night before bed.
I read multiple books at the same time for an inspiration. It is that kind of orgy of ideas that give birth to new ideas that could otherwise never be. I learned this creativity tip from James Altucher. I enjoy it.
I selected books from different areas. I focused on reading New York Times best sellers with a high number of reviews. I read books written and recommended by titans such as Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Brad Feld, and James. And of course, I read books recommended by friends and Amazon.
Back when I had finished my Masters, I stopped reading. It was not part of my daily habits, Facebook was. I suffered from brain anorexia. Twyla Tharp says what I am today and what I will be in five years depends on two things: the people I meet and the books I read.
I agree with Mark Twain on the opening quote. My day will not be complete without reading now.
The achievement of reading 100 books by itself is not important. Actually, I read 104 to be exact. When I finished my 100th book, my feeling was just like I finished another book. But the commitment of this daily habit was the hardest of all. Reading became my mental vacation.
So I was successful in holding on to the commitment of reading two or more hours a day. But in different area, I failed all my life to commit on healthy eating habits. I couldn’t keep a diet. I couldn’t achieve one goal – to see my six-pack abs, but I refuse to live the rest of my life without seeing them. Now that I exercised commitment muscle, I will try to achieve that goal too. But For God sake, I need to put myself on a Facebook diet first. Ahh…all those “Likes”….
Here is a dream, how about taking a year off, touring Italy, reading 200 books, and trying to get in shape, all at the same time. Is that an exercise in self-discipline or maybe just an exercise in futility…with all that pasta everywhere you turn.
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