At the time of writing this post (and recording that video), it’s January 2019.
At the beginning of a New Year, everyone reflects on their past year’s achievements, and in my line of work of book reviewing, that usually means counting up how many books you read.
The idea is simple. The more books that you read, the better the year you have had.
But is anything in life ever that simple?
Just because you have read more personal development books, does that mean you have developed more as a person?
And the big question that I plan to answer in this post is, can you read too many books?
What are you reading for?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I think it’s important to first clarify why it is that you are reading in the first place.
If your goal when reading is purely for entertainment, then as long as the books you are reading are fulfilling that goal, I don’t believe you can read too much.
This applies mainly to those that read fiction books.
However, if your goal for reading is to learn more about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, time-management, and general personal development, is there a maximum number of books that you should be reading per year?
In 2018 I read a lot of books!
Almost 50 – and some of them were not small either.
That’s the most books that I have ever read in a single year.
And if I’m totally honest, I probably read more books in 2019 than I read in all of my previous 28 years of living added together!
But mid-way through 2018, something happened.
My brain started to feel frazzled and overloaded. I was so obsessed with going from book to book that I wasn’t giving my brain the time needed to process and digest the information that I had put into it.
What are you doing with all that information?
Personal development books, especially the really great ones, can be packed with tonnes of key takeaways and actionable content. We read the book and think, ‘wow, this is amazing’, and then we close the book and go onto the next one.
Many times, and I include myself in this, we forget to use the information that we have just learned about.
Going back to the main question of this post, can you read too many books? The answer is yes! If you are reading more books that than what you are implementing, then you are reading too many.
The importance of implementation
My biggest smack in the face came from reading Create or Hate by Dan Norris.
Inside this book, Dan emphasizes how important it is to create more than you consume.
As an entrepreneur, especially a heavy-reading entrepreneur, it’s very easy to get caught on the hamster wheel of consuming as much content as you can. So much, in fact, that you rob yourself of the time to create and implement.
Knowing is one thing. But to be successful at anything in this life, you have to execute on your knowledge and actually do things.
The overweight brain
genshafteugene: “I think about it this way. Reading is the way to consume information. It’s literally like food for brain. When do you become overweight? When you eat more then you use. Same thing with intellectual “metabolism”: when you consume more information then you apply you get intellectually “overweight”: too much thinking before doing, less social, etc.”
I thought that this was a brilliant analogy and therefore wanted to share it in this post.
My Book of 100 Books
To help more people focus on the importance of implementation, I have recently created a workbook designed for those that read personal development, business, and entrepreneurship books.
It’s called My Book of 100 Books because it holds the reading notes, review notes, and key takeaways for 100 books!
…It basically helps you to organize and summarize your entire library into one use useful book.
Inside, you’ll also find what I like to call ‘Implementation Pages’ these are little reminders for you to reflect and take action on what you have learned.
If you want to grab yourself a copy, it’s available on Amazon.
Can you read too many books?
To summarize my answer to that question, first I believe you need to understand what your goals are for reading.
If you are reading for enjoyment and entertainment, then no, I don’t believe you can read too many books as long as the books that you are reading continue to fulfill that objective.
However, if your goal for reading is to help you become more successful, fulfilled, wealthier, etc. then I believe that there is a limit.
Although I encourage everyone to read and invest in themselves, simply pilling up completed books is useless without implementation.
So this year, instead of counting the number of books we read, how about counting the number of books we implement?