One similar thing that I understand for successful people that I’m really looking up to is that they read a lot. Insanely a lot. Warren Buffett is said to spend 80% of his day reading. Bill Gates has a dedicated page about books that he read. Mark Zuckerberg started a book club. Elon Musk learned how to build rocket by devouring books.
In one public event at the end 2015, I met with the Dr Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon.com. He was in rush to the parking lot and I caught him to take a selfie. Seeing him in such a hurry, I asked only one question.
“I love your blog and love how you share papers you read there. You are a very busy man, how do you make time?”
He then answered something simple like,
“You make time. You have to make time. Or else other things will just come up”
After that time, I tried to read more. On 2016, I ended up reading around 9 books and 10 papers. While the papers I read were mostly about general computer science, the books had a bit variation such as fantasy fictions, science fictions, self-improvement in addition to computer science textbooks. This year I want to challenge myself even further.
I tried ambitiously setting up my reading challenge to 30 books this year. Coming this third month of the year, I had finished around 10 books. I put the list here. The number is already one-third of the target for 2017, yay! The variation is still much like last year. There are self-improvement books like Happy for No Reason, Getting Things Done, How to Win Friends and Influence People, What Successful People Know About Leadership, Man’s Search For Meaning. There is fiction Short Stories from Hogwarts: Not a Potterhead, but I always enjoy Harry Potter’s books. Obviously there are engineering books: The Effective Engineer and Clean Code (reread this). In addition to those genres, I added couple of history books: Band of Brothers and The Art of War.
For the rest of the year I already have a lot of books in mind. I want to start reading biography. I already put Benjamin Franklin‘s on my list. After that I want to read Lincoln. I haven’t read any science fiction this year, I think I am going to continue reading Dune – I am still at the middle of the book, but I think I will restart from the beginning. The Expanse book series is also interesting, I love the TV series. There are at least two titles of financial books in the list: The Intelligent Investor and The Richest Man in Babylon. Lately I am interested a bit in stoicism, so there are Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Ego Is The Enemy; in fact I already bought those books last year. Books on politics are also interesting, but I have not found a title that is good for starter.
I also found out that it actually helps a lot by switching the reading medium from physical book and e-book. On one time I also tried “reading” using audible. After finished one or two book from my Kindle, I felt that reading the next book on physical book have a nice refreshing feeling and put off some strain from the eye. This also applies on other way around. I think this is the main reason why I can finish books much faster than previous couple of years.
Speaking of physical books, I now regularly order book from Book Depository every month. The books are as cheap as the ones sold by Periplus or Kinokunya, some times even cheaper if the latter are located in high class malls. The funny thing is, every time I ordered book from BookDep, I soon tried to forget it. Since the books usually took around one month to get here from the UK, every time they arrived, it felt like getting surprise gift from someone. Haha.
Anyway, one more thing. There will be another Big Bad Wolf this year on Jakarta! I cannot wait! Although I have not finished the books I bought on last year’s event, I am still excited to buy a lot of books for this year! This year I am planning to go on the earlier days so I can catch the good books before they get sold out.
If you have a book recommendation preferably but not limited to the subjects I mentioned above, please do let me know!