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Last year I read one hundred books. For me, reading many books is a goal in itself. Some prefer to read a few and delve deeply into them. But for me, quantity is prioritized, as it provides me with a breadth of knowledge. I know a little about a lot. This is useful when wanting to understand trends, developments, and see patterns.
Since 2015, I've set goals and tracked my reading through Goodreads. The goal used to be one book per week, but I often ended up reading nearly twice that. So this year, the goal was a hundred books.
How to read 100 books a year
Reading so many books requires discipline but is easier than one might think.
Listen to audiobooks
Audiobooks are crucial. I listen while driving, doing dishes, walking, waiting for the train, cooking, mowing the lawn. This adds up to hundreds of hours of book listening every year. About 80 percent of my books are audiobooks, 10 percent are ebooks when I read to underline and delve deeper, and then 10 percent are paper books, usually just for pleasure.
Listen at a higher speed
If you increase the playback speed to double, you can obviously get through twice as many books. I now mainly listen at three times the normal speed. It's easier than you think. Just increase it a little at a time. If you go directly from normal to three times faster, you won't understand a thing, but if you increase from 1 to 1.25 your brain quickly adapts.
Instead of continuing to read a boring book, even if you think you 'should,' put it aside. Otherwise, you risk getting stuck and not reading at all.
Prioritize books over podcasts
I listen to few podcasts. There are many good ones, but I prioritize books. To get through many books, you can't listen to a lot of podcasts.
The best books I read in 2023
It was an unusual book year for me, as I released my own book, "The Centaur's Edge."
Otherwise, 2023 was not a stellar book year. I re-read some 5+ books (not included in the top list), which was fun and useful, but I found too few new top books. I need to try harder to find good books this year.
Here are all the books I read in 2023.
Make Something Wonderful – Steve Jobs in his own words
By Steve Jobs
I can't think of anyone who explains technology and its impact on us as well as Steve Jobs. Therefore, it's a pure joy to read what his family and friends have compiled from what he said and wrote over the years.
Here is an email he sent to himself:
From: Steve Jobs
To: Steve Jobs
Date: September 2, 2010, 11:08 p.m.
I grow little of the food I eat, and of the little I do grow I did not breed or perfect the seeds.
I do not make any of my own clothing.
I speak a language I did not invent or refine.
I did not discover the mathematics I use.
I am protected by freedoms and laws I did not conceive of or legislate, and do not enforce or adjudicate.
I am moved by music I did not create myself.
When I needed medical attention, I was helpless to help myself survive.
I did not invent the transistor, the microprocessor, object oriented programming, or most of the technology I work with.
I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am totally dependent on them for my life and well being.
Sent from my iPad
And the books is free!
How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration and Everything In Between
By Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner
Wherever you live, you can easily think of some major projects that took much longer than expected and cost much more than intended. Bridges, buildings, railways, IT platforms, or anything else.
Bent Flyvbjerg has compiled the world's largest database of such projects and identified why they go wrong, and what can be done about them. Useful and interesting reading for anyone undertaking projects, even small ones like renovating a kitchen.
Conquering the Electron: The Geniuses, Visionaries, Egomaniacs, and Scoundrels Who Built Our Electronic Age
By Derek Cheung and Eric Brach
A very good history of the electronic era. Fascinating personalities and a web of innovations that have created the world we live in today.
Well-written and easy to read.
When the Heavens Went on Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach
By Ashlee Vance
There are several books about SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic, but here the author has followed a group of other space startups for several years. Like Rocket Lab from New Zealand, Ad Astra, and Leolabs.
Space startups are often driven by interesting and slightly crazy people, which of course makes for an entertaining read.
All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business
By Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks is a comedic genius who has succeeded in whatever he has undertaken. Writing a book about his life is another thing he does well. If you love his movies and shows, as I do, you will love this book, as I do.
The Angry Optimist