A few people have asked me what I think of Tai Lopez’s reading routine and his whole ‘read a book a day’ thing.
Tai Lopez certainly has some good advice when it comes to reading but it’s built on a false premise.
Tai Lopez doesn’t read a book a day.
At least not using my or most people’s definition of reading a book.
When you see the title of Tai Lopez’s videos – Why I Read A Book A Day, How To Read A Book In Ten Minutes, etc – most people would think he means reading a book cover to cover.
Reading a book cover to cover in a day is possible. I’ve done it many times. But only with a few caveats:
- It will take you a long time – a few hours out of the day.
- It has to be a very short book if you’re pressed for time.
- You “cheat” or redefine what reading a book is.
“How to read a book a day” – it’s a sensationalist subject matter and a misleading one. Kinda reminds me how people were pissed at Tim Ferriss when they sussed that – shock – he doesn’t work only four hours a week.
I’m not digging at Tai here. He’s got enough people already doing that. Plus the dude’s a shrewd marketer, so massive respect.
I won’t ever buy his courses but if he manages to get a few non-readers actually picking up some quality reading material more often, he’s done a good service to the community.
Let’s get the crappy stuff out of the way first and then I’ll say what I like about Tai Lopez’s reading advice.
How Tai Lopez Reads A Book A Day
This is how he “reads a book a day”:
- He reads the back cover and jacket.
- He reads the introduction.
- He reads the conclusion.
- He reads the contents page.
- He might read one random chapter than intrigues him.
Sorry, Tai. That’s a good reading routine for someone who is pressed for time and trying to be efficient but that’s not exactly reading a book a day.
He says reading the jacket will tell you more about the writer and activate something in your brain that lets you see them as an authority.
Read the jacket in the bookstore or check the synopsis before buying.
As for reading the intro and conclusion first, I can see his rationale. He wants summaries. And that is efficient but is it effective?
Firstly, you can’t do that shit with fiction.
Secondly, you might pick out “golden nuggets”, to use Tai’s phrasing, but how much will really stick if you’re just skimming the book?
One of the best books I have ever read is Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Here are the “golden nuggets” from that book:
- Be proactive
- Think win/win
- Sharpen the saw
- Put first things first
- Begin with the end in mind
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Learn a lot?
No, of course you didn’t.
That doesn’t mean anything to you.
The book took me maybe 10 hours to read over 10 different sittings.
I did it with a pen and paper and made notes.
Then I read it again.
Right now I’m living a different reality from the one I lived before I picked up the book.
I’m living a better reality because the stories that Covey weaves throughout the book create paradigm shifts in your mind. They change the way you see the world. You live with these ideas and let them ferment and make lots of little idea babies.
Did the same happen for you after reading my “golden nuggets”?
Would the same happen if you just read the cover, the intro, and conclusion?
Why do you need to read a book a day?
Examine that need to “read a book a day”.
Are you just being a literary dick measurer?
Do you feel a lack of something in your life?
Do you think being able to say you “read 365 books this year” will somehow make you feel secure in yourself?
I’d much rather spend my time and my money wisely by picking 10-20 great books I want to read this year and really living with them and sucking the juice out of them than simply inhaling words that never stick.
So that’s what I think about Tai’s “read a book a day” stuff. But he does actually have some good reading advice.
Have a bookmark and pen handy
Reading a book with a pen in your hand and the courage to cover the pages with your own notes and underlinings is a whole different reading experience from the passive one most people have.
When you’re making notes, or being prepared to make notes, you are soaking up the information.
I already mentioned this technique in these articles:
- 10 Ways To Retain More Of What You Read
- How To Read Big Difficult Books (Plus Recommended Reading List)
Making notes and interacting actively with texts is how we learn and retain information.
And we want to retain what we read so we can put it to good use in our lives.
If you don’t want to retain what you read, why bother reading at all?
Just watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians instead.
Get the ebook and physical book
I don’t do this all the time because it gets pricey but if a book really is great and is really making me think I will get the Kindle or iBooks version and maybe the audiobook along with the paperback.
That way you can make notes while on the go and highlight and all that good stuff.
I’ve done this with a few stand-out books:
If you can afford it, I do believe this tactic pays off.
“What is it I want to learn as a result of reading this book?”
That’s a question Tai asks before cracking open a volume.
Then he’ll set a timer and read during an allotted time period, searching for what he needs.
I like that sort of reading.
It’s that sort of thing that will really make your reading take off.
You can use it with fiction too.
It’s all about being more mindful about what you’re consuming.
If you can’t answer that question, you might be better off picking another book.
What do you think of Tai Lopez’s reading advice?
Have you ever read a book in a day?
Tell me about it. I’ll bet it made your head hurt!