In 2013, I read 3 books. 3. I spent a few moments rationalizing why I had only read 3 books in 365 days. I came up with the universal excuse - not enough time.
Not enough time? Sure, I may have been working 60 hours a week. I probably was watching too much mind numbing TV. But that still did not account for 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, or 730 hours in a month. Seven-Hundred-Thirty hours in a month. 260 hours could be explained by work, I only slept 6 hours a day on average - another 182 hours. 730 - (260 + 182) = 288. 288 hours in a month was what was conventionally thought as free time.
That's almost an average of 9.5 hours per day. Yet, despite that 9.5 hours, most days ended with me wishing for a few extra minutes. I did what any engineer would do - I gathered data. From the moment I woke up, till the moment I went to bed - I wrote down what I did. What I found was that the majority of free time was spent with my mind being passive. I was cooking breakfast, or getting ready for work, or folding laundry, or doing dishes. Yes, this time was not ideal to sit down with a cup of caffeinated hot liquid and spend hours reading a book - but it was time that my brain was only doing one thing.
I made the conscious decision to start filling that time with people speaking into my ears. First, I started with podcasts. RadioLab, 99 Percent Invisible, TED Radio Hour, Freakanomics - there were a lot. It may have been the advertising on those podcasts, but I started hearing a lot about Audible. I was someone who wanted to read more, and had time to listen to podcasts. So, in 2014, with the help of Audible, I read 20 books. Yes, read - the biological sense that I use to get written words into my brain doesn't change the verb used to describe the act of consuming books - I will fight you over this. Anyway, 20 books - thats more than a 500% increase.
So what did I read? Old favorites, new favorites - fiction about space, non fiction about space, books on presidents, books on history. As Maria von Trapp sang - these are a few of my favorite things: