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How Bill Gates Changed My Reading Habits

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Bill Gates Reading Moments. Photo Courtesy

Reading is power

It is said that reading makes one’s brain smart and always alert. Reading from the greatest people makes one wiser.

Charlie Munger, self-made billionaire, and Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner, once said that he had not known any wise person who did not read all the time. None!

However, reading per se is not a guarantee for one to be better. One can read 100 books a year without any impact.

It is about what and how you read that will improve your life’s quality and enhance your mind.

Bill Gates Reading Moments. Photo Courtesy

I read a book a week for more than two years now and continue to look for ways to improve my reading. Recently, I listened to Bill Gates sharing his free, yet priceless lessons on how he reads books.

According to Gates, there are three reading practices one can apply on a daily basis:

  • Always write short notes.

Taking side notes in the margins is a simple yet effective way to stay present. With a pen in your hand, it is your default option to engage with the book in front of you. You will find it easier to focus on the thoughts at hand.

Gates always aims to connect new knowledge to what he already knows. If he disagrees with the written word, he will take even more side notes:

“If I disagree with a book it sometimes takes a lot of time to read the book because I am writing so much in the margins. It’s actually kind of frustrating. Please say something I agree with so I can get through with this book.”

  • Always finish a book that you started

It is simple, get to the end.

  • Read for at least one hour at a time

To get your mind around a book, Bill says, you should block an hour at a time every time you read.

If you read books you want to sit down an hour at a time. Every night I’m reading, I’m reading a little bit over an hour so I can take my current book and make some progress.

While Bill’s advice is applicable for retired billionaires, I would recommend adopting his rule to: “Aim for one uninterrupted reading hour a day and also take every additional minute you get.”

My bedtime ritual is reading. In bed, I can either sleep or read. That’s how I read one book per week for two years. The sooner you shut off your devices in the evening, the more you’ll learn.

In conclusion:

Instead of feeling restrained by ideas about what you could do to improve your reading, enjoy experimenting at your own pace. Keep the principles that work for you and leave the rest.

Choose one or two new reading habits until you find a pattern that helps you on your journey to wisdom.

Mercy Tyra Murengu
A multi-award-winning journalist accredited by the Media Council of Kenya.

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    2 Comments

    1. Bill Gates is a wise man, and so are his words about reading. Side notes in the margins is a good thing, but get it done with a pencil. Makes it easier to erase or make corrections. My recent book, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Perils Of The Digital Age has a lot of notes on the margins. All in pencil, of course.

      1. Woow thank you for sharing..glad that you are reading something at the moment..i am equally reading The ring by Danielle Steel 👌#notesinpencil🙂

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