The more I learn about the lives of great people, the more I know that many of them are voracious readers. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are two contemporary examples. My favorite example, though, is Theodore Roosevelt (TR).

Becoming a Voracious ReaderWhile he was at the White House, TR read at least one book a day, even when he was busy. If he had no event at night, he could read one or two more books. Not only that, he had a strong memory of what he had read. Often he could quote passages.

With TR, reading had become a habit since his youth. Whether he was with the cowboys or soldiers, his favorite pastime was reading. This habit gave him an immense knowledge and a broad perspective. It helped him become the effective person he was.

Why You Should Become a Voracious Reader

There are many benefits you can get by being an avid reader. Here are some of them (I focus on non-fiction books here):

  • It broadens your perspective.
    Reading helps you see the world from a new perspective. Among other things, it helps you foresee new opportunities and threats. You will also be able to assess a situation more accurately.
  • It helps you be more creative.
    By feeding your mind with many different ideas, there is a good chance that your various thoughts will cross-pollinate and produce fresh ideas. You will become more creative as a result.
  • It relaxes your mind.
    TR said that reading is “a pure imaginative therapy.” Immersing yourself in a good book is like watching a good movie. It can take you to new worlds. Such an experience is entertaining and relaxing for your mind.
  • It gives you a deeper appreciation of the world.
    Sometimes we don’t appreciate something because we don’t know how wonderful it actually is. Reading can give you a deeper understanding of the world around you which, in turn, will grow your appreciation of it.
  • It enriches your conversational repertoire.
    Knowing more about the world around you means having more topics to converse with. That will help you connect with different kinds of people.

How to Become a Voracious Reader

Now that we have seen the benefits of becoming an avid reader, here are some ways to become one:

  • Build your curiosity.
    If you are curious, you don’t need to push yourself to read. Instead, you will want to read because it will satisfy your curiosity. To build your curiosity, be aware that there are many interesting things in this world that you don’t know. Your life will be much more exciting if you find them. Even seemingly boring things have interesting sides if you dig deep enough.
  • Teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows.
    This advice comes from Stephen King in On Writing. Whenever you have idle time, whether long or short, fill it with reading. Waiting in the doctor’s office could be a good time to read, so is waiting to board your plane. It means that you should always take a book with you. Fortunately, that’s easy to do these days: simply put e-books into your tablet or smartphone and you are set.
  • Read diversely.
    Reading diversely prevents you from getting bored because you constantly enter new worlds. The sense of wonder will motivate you to read more.
  • Immerse yourself in your reading.
    When you are reading, visualize what you read. Imagine being in the world. TR was so immersed in his reading that he couldn’t even hear his name being called. When you achieve this level, reading will become a flow. It will become a “pure imaginative therapy.” You will end up wanting more of it.

***

Do you have tips on becoming a voracious reader? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • http://www.selfication.com Patrik Edblad

    Great article Donald, thanks for sharing.

    I’d like to suggest two great books for improving your reading skills:

    1. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler, which is pretty much the ultimate guide to reading comprehension.
    2. The Speed Reading Book by Tony Buzan, which helped me increase my reading speed by over 200% (I know others have had even better results)

    If you pick these up, I’m sure they’ll make your reading even more enjoyable and help you digest even more wisdom in shorter time :)

    • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/ Donald Latumahina

      Useful recommendations, Patrik. Thanks!

  • http://www.webbyfox.co.uk Riz

    Excellent inspiration !!! I am still lacking when it come to reading BUT from now I should start reading stuff.

    • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/ Donald Latumahina

      Great! Let’s become avid readers :)

  • http://www.selfstairway.com Vincent Nguyen

    I don’t have anything to add because I myself do not read too often. I am currently going through Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and it is a very interesting book.

    Just wanted to stop by and tell you I found this article to be wonderful! It really inspired me to want to go out and buy some more books. :)

    • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/ Donald Latumahina

      Thanks, Vincent :)

  • http://www.banexcuses.com Bobby @ Ban Excuses

    I love reading, but have only come to this conclusion recently. I never used to like to read. The earlier we can instill this sort of knowledge on our youth, the better off the future of the country will be.

    • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/ Donald Latumahina

      I agree. In fact, I owe my love of reading to my parents.

  • http://nickbgoodall.com Nick Goodall

    I don’t think this lies anywhere in your two lists, but learning to read is something I’d highly recommend, perhaps that would be better suited for when one has the ‘why’ power sorted! Doubling, tripling or even quadrupling your reading rate has some incredible benefits, namely the amount of books you can read with the newfound love of reading!

    Here’s to voracious reading! Have a great day, Donald!

    • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/ Donald Latumahina

      I agree, Nick. Thanks and have a great day too!

  • http://www.charlotterainsdixon.com Charlotte Rains Dixon

    Since I finally bought a Kindle a few months ago, my reading has doubled, at least. I find it very easy to inhale books on the Kindle, and plus I can carry it with me everywhere and always have a multitude of books ready to read. I love it.

    • http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/ Donald Latumahina

      My situation is similar to you. My reading has improved since I read on my iPad. I find it helpful.

      • http://solomon-abate.blogspot.com/ @solomonA1 Solomon Abate

        Donald, it’s a great article. I think every reader whateverher/his pace might be, could learn from this. BTW, as Charlotte said above, it’s good to have kindle as it’s handy and could use it anywhere.
        Many thanks!

  • mohammed rabidheen

    This is just simple & awesome… my interest towards reading getting high now… thought of reading at least 2 books tonight like TR..

  • http://noitraitimbinhyen.blogspot.com Quynh Giang

    I can feel every word you write, and it becomes my motivation to read more books. Thank you so much for sharing this post.

  • http://selfconfidenceguru.com/ Darren

    After I bought a Kindle, I have transferred into a book lover. As I always have that with me everywhere, so I get it out whenever I have to read books. And also reading on it, gives me more pleasure.

  • http://www.onestoppersonaldevelopment.com/ Chim Aaron

    A useful reminder about the value of reading. I’ve always loved reading myself. I wish I could speed up my reading though – there’s so much to learn, so many books to read. But I’m not sure how effective speed reading techniques are. I’ll probably check out the book recommended by Patrik.

  • http://www.savemymarriagetodayonline.com Gabby

    Usually I only read text book information. The the article sparked my interest in some other things. Reading is a very important skill that we sometimes take for grated. There are a lot of people in this world that don’t know how to read. What a shame. Thanks for the inspiring post.

  • http://www.futurevisitor.com shael

    Reading is something which provides you with a sense of pleasure…. “Immerse yourself and imagine what you read”-truly that is how you become creative and a voracious reader too…
    Thanks for sharing Donald, it was a lovely post..

  • Idowu Ridwan

    Reading is akin to continuos learning. It helps to sharpen the intellects.Through being an avid reader, one can gro wtn knowledge. Tanx Donald for sharing this with me.

  • http://thebohemiancafe.blogspot.co.uk/ Dennis Thompson

    Try audiobooks, I get through loads of books while doing the housework :)

  • http://www.voyageofattraction.com Paul Odafe Akpomukai

    It’s important to go after you passion, only by going after your passion you will develop the desire to find things that could help you to unravel the puzzles of your quest. When you know your passion, the next step is to find all the books that you can find that could enlighten your awareness of that which you are seeking..,

  • http://www.motivehub.com laaki

    Not sure if it fits – but i mostly use audio versions of books. Then i put my headset on and relax while listening. You will be surprised how little time it takes to finish a book with this approach.

  • Britt

    I really enjoyed your sentence “even seemingly boring things are interesting if you dig deep enough.” I write for an electrical wholesale company and have found it to be very interesting after really thoroughly researching articles. Great blog

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