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Reading Books Sequentially

Brian Crain
Brian Crain
1 min read

Naval Ravikant is well known for his often insightful and unorthodox advice. One such recommendation is about how to read. He says that you shouldn't read books to completion, but just pick up whatever interests you and be fine with reading many books at the same time. You can hear him express this in his own words here.

This idea has been in the back of my mind for a long time. I have no doubt that this works well for Naval and probably others too. But I have found that for me, at this point, it is not an effective way to read.

Books naturally have ups and downs. It often takes time to get into a book and there will be phases when a book gets boring. My natural inclination is to then just pick up another book. I'd have lots of books that I started reading and didn't finish.

Here's an alternative that works better for me: I read one book at a time. If I want to start a new book, I have to finish the old one. If I don't like the book, I can abandon it, but then I expect not to pick it up again in the future. Or I can just skim the book to finish it quickly.

When I started reading like this, I went to finish lots of books that I had half-read. Many of the books, I actually really enjoyed when I got into it. But when the option was there to just pick up something new, I had abandoned them and moved on.

Reading books sequentially also seems like a better way to train your attention. There is always some new stimulus, new information, new thing that you can look at. To keep your attention on one thing, even through a temporary lull of boredom is valuable.

For me, reading books sequentially, one-at-a-time has been very helpful to read more consistently and enjoy reading more.