3 Tips To Read More Books Next Year

3 Tips To Read More Books Next Year

I read about 60 books last year. I’m a busy guy, with a full-time job, and a family with two kids. However I did it, I’m revealing the top three reasons I was able to achieve this last year.

For my passion in business, and marketing I started reading the books that I gathered in my bookshelf in the last four years. Yeah, I wasn’t reading them for three years time. Not even completed one book.

Last year, Ryan Allis (Founder of iContact) released his 1,286 slide presentation on everything he’d learned in his 20s in life, entrepreneurship, and the world.

I would’ve read about 300 of the 1,286 slides, but to completely understand it I read the summaries many people wrote at that time. And most importantly I completed the workbook that accompanied the slides. That was already good enough value to me.

Ryan Allis read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill when he was 16, and he wrote down his goal to make $1 Million by Age 21. He ended up building iContact and growing it to a $1 Million worth company by Age 21. I think he missed his goal by about 40 days or something.

The point is that he wrote down his goals and was able to reach them. To quote Napoleon Hill from the book:

Ryan Allis, in his Lessons from a 20s workbook, asked to write what are my goals for the next year, next decade, and for the lifetime.

I wrote them down. I’ll reveal those in another post but to keep to context, one of my goals was to read all the books I bought so far. The physical books, kindle books, and online courses and complete them.

That was a staggering huge goal coz I bought 100 books and courses. However, I worked towards it.

Image Caption: One Of My Bookshelves

I used the following tricks to read over 60 books last year:

  1. I Took a Speed Reading Course
  2. Used Audible
  3. Used Blinkist

1. Speed Reading Course

The speed reading course that I took was from Udemy: Become a SuperLearner: Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memory. The course taught me a lot of tips on how to read and comprehend the reading properly and store them in your mind with the use of markers and other techniques.

A simple tip to read faster: When you read a book, read the first three words and last three words of a line in one go.

2. Audible

Audible.com is a subsidiary of Amazon and the world’s biggest producer of digital Audiobooks. Their selection includes over 180,000 best-selling digital Audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio subscriptions to popular magazines and newspapers.

3. Blinkist

Blinkist takes non-fiction books and summarizes them into a concise, and information-rich format — blinks. Blink is a short chapter that contains critical insight from a book. It is readable in less than 2 minutes, so you can read one blink whenever you have a few minutes of time to spare.

You can complete one book in about 10 to 15 minutes yet; you won’t miss any crucial information. They even have an audio narration of the blinks. So it’s super cool for a little yearly subscription.

I use Blinkist in three ways:

  1. To read books that I want to check whether it’s worth to read the full copy.
  2. To read the summaries of books like Think And Grow Rich, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and How To Win Friends And Influence People again and again.
  3. It’s a good way to kill time productively. Every 10 – 15 minutes I wait for transport or wait for someone, I finish one book. Or during a commute, I finish books.

I still have a lot of books to go, and I’m adding more books to the pipeline every day. Like and comment if you are a life-long learner like me! Also, what other tips do you have to read and complete books faster?

Software Project Estimation

Estimation of an IT project is not a pleasant exercise. However, it is part of project management.

Usually, the pain points are

  • Depending upon the role, we come up with own version of numbers.
  • Project Bidder, Project Governance intend to move the numbers down; Black sheep intends to move it north
  • Estimation implicitly mean a commitment to management
  • Estimation is made without clarity of requirements
  • Estimates are subject to stakeholders interests and personality

Some principles of estimation practice:-

  • Parkinson law – Work shall fill the time allocated for completion.
  • Today’s project is Tomorrow’s legacy
  • Quality/Reliability of Estimation cannot be better than the requirements
  • Poor congruence of stakeholders is a perfect recipe for disaster
  • Often one fails to understand the difference between –Effort and Duration in estimation.
  • Cost and Effort are associated with Work Breakdown structure while Duration associates to Critical Path.
    • Cost – Money Spent (Unit – Currency)
    • Effort – Work Time for a task (Unit – Person-Hours)
    • Duration – Calendar Time (Unit – Days)

Here’s one technique for estimation.

  • Discuss with responsible person of a task to identify – effort required when it’s all roses with no thorns in the path. Let’s call it – Optimistic (O) number.
  • Identify the effort when we, it’s all desert with no hope of oasis. Let’s call it – Pessimistic (P) number.
  • Pinch yourself, it’s a real world. Both of the above cases are unlikely, Identify the effort. Let’s call it – Realistic (R) number.

The estimated number (E) is (O + 4R + P)/6 with Uncertainty(U) as P – O.

Always Report Estimated number E with Uncertainty U. Plan and be prepared for, Uncertainty U.

A yardstick for self-review of estimation maturity :

Review and update your Estimates E and Uncertainty U in iterations; Uncertainty U should decline.

The Wonderful Human Brain – Infographic and Test

Stumbled upon the above brilliant infographic recently while casually browsing twitter. It was Interesting to know the dynamics of the brain and how it works.

Further to the above infographic, here’s some more information:

Left Brain

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning. Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others. If you’re left brained, you are likely good at math and logic. Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

Right Brain

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility. Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way. If you’re right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art. Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

My Test Result

I went one step further to know what kind of a person I am – and I came across this website: http://homeworktips.about.com/library/brainquiz/bl_leftrightbrain_quiz.htm?questnum=0

You are a middle brain dominant student!

You are open-minded but not gullible about things or people. You may run into trouble making decisions sometimes, while your logical brain plays tug-of-war with your gut instinct. You enjoy the arts, but you could also do well in science and math. You appreciate the beauty of all things in life and are well-rounded. Middle brain students would do well on The Apprentice since they can have a strong mix of gut instinct and an appreciation for numbers. You would have a strong career in business, but you may not go that route; you may be more interested in studying the arts and sciences in college. You would be wise to read over the characteristics of the left and right brain students and consider whether you fall into the traps of either type. For instance, extreme right brain dominant students can get too bogged down in thought, while extreme left brain students can be rigid in their views.

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