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At the beginning of 2018, I decided that I was going to read 100 books in a year and post all of the book reviews on my Instagram account.

During that time, people asked me a lot of questions:

Here’s a few of the questions and comments I got along the way.

So now, I want to let you in on how I read 100 books in 2018, what my mindset was, and the impact it had on me.

Why Books?

I knew I wanted 2018 to be a year dedicated to learning.

I just wasn’t sure how to accomplish that goal.

So, I first had to ask myself: With my current lifestyle, demands, and availability of time: What’s the best way for me to learn? 

I thought about podcasts, e-courses, or even taking college classes.  But I came to these conclusions:

  • Podcasts only skim the surface of knowledge.
  • E-courses can add up and get expensive.
  • College courses take too much time to learn one thing.  (e.g., 12 weeks for one class).  Not to mention, higher education costs are skyrocketing

I thought to myself: why not books

I was inspired by Jon Acuff who read 100+ books in 2017.

Then I heard Mark Batterson say that the average author puts about two years of life into every book they write.  If that’s true, then reading one book is similar to gaining two years of life experience, which means in 2018 I gained 200 years of life experience.

I had also appreciated what Brian Tracy has to say on the subject of reading:

“If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.”

Wow! Life experience? Top 1% income earner? Transform your life? To me, it was obvious that reading in 2018 needed to be a priority.

Let’s dive into the specifics of how I actually accomplished it and what I would recommend for you.

Get eBooks and Audiobooks From Your Local Library

Many of my friends use Audible. But, unfortunately with Audible, there’s a limit to the amount of audiobooks that you can use per month. And if I was going to read 100 books in 2018, that translated to 8.33 books per month.

I also researched different paid options for Audiobooks, but I found them too limited in their selection or too expensive.

Then, after reading on Reddit, I found out that the Los Angeles Public Library holds the largest e-book and audiobook collection in the United States (40,000 audiobooks and 280,000 e-books). Fortunately, the LA Public Library allows any California resident to obtain a library card. So, during a family trip to Disneyland in January, I made sure to stop by the library and sign up for my free library card.

Then, using my new library card, I was able to explore, hold, and checkout thousands of e-book and audiobook titles.

If you don’t live in California or near Los Angeles, don’t worry. Chances are your local library houses several desirable e-book and audiobook titles. Check out this post that lists some of the top audiobook collections in the United States.

Listen to Audiobooks at 1.5x Speed

Knowing that I had to read 8.33 books per month, I recognized that I would probably have to keep a pretty good pace. The producers of audiobooks often tell their narrator to read at a slower pace. This results in a speaking pace that is often slower than conversational speech.

I found that if I can adjust the playback speed (typically it was 1.5x speed), I was able to get through a book quicker. For example, I was not able to finish an audiobook in 3 hours and 40 minutes, instead of 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Read 2 (or more) Books At a Time

In addition to listening to audiobooks, I also made it a point to read e-books (checked out from the library, of course) at the same time. During the day as I was commuting, exercising, or getting work done around the house, I’d make it a point to listen to my audiobooks.

But, in the evening before going to bed, I’d read e-books on my Kindle. This way, I was able to maintain my pace, even when I was awake.

Be Flexible In Your Criterion

If you’re setting out to read 100 books in a year, it’s okay to be flexible with your criterion for meeting that goal. I’ve heard from different people that:

  • You should only read fiction or non-fiction.
  • Long novels are the only way to go.
  • Your books should only focus on finance.

In truth, who cares? This goal is for you– not for other people. Perfectionism or bending to the will of others will keep you from reaching your goal. I even read a Dog Man book or two in 2018.

Book #44 was Dog Man Unleashed which I read with my 6-year old son

Have Fun

If you’re going to set a worthwhile goal, you need to have fun along the way. As Zig Ziglar says, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Zig Ziglar

Don’t set a goal that’s going to be boring or tedious. Instead, set a goal that’s worthwhile to you. One that’s going to help you become a better version of yourself. Should you set a goal that’s difficult or challenging? Absolutely! But if you’re not getting anything out of it and it’s not something that’s going to help you grow, well, don’t set it then.

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Kyle Renke is a Sacramento-based real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty and The David Greene Team. Kyle is the primary author and contributor behind RelentlessFI.com, an online community and blog dedicated to those who are relentlessly pursuing financial independence. A lifelong learner, Kyle holds two Master’s degrees, coached college basketball, and has taught himself to develop websites and cloud-based software. Kyle loves teaching, coaching, writing, watching basketball, and going on hiking adventures in the Sierra Nevada's with his wife and two children.