I used to buy a lot of books. Personal development books, business books, investment management books, entrepreneurship books, you get the idea. I’ve read at least several chapters of 100 different books on the previous topics and have learned a ton from doing it. The problem is that I got to a certain point and I realized I wasn’t actually getting anywhere.Buying books was one of my personal Twitches. My brain was telling me that I was being productive and accomplished something significant (in a single click) by buying a tool that would help me get to my end goal. I was using the purchase of a new book as a ‘false first step‘ towards accomplishing what I really needed to do. You can see that I had a habit of taking ‘false first steps’ via Amazon.com in many ways even outside of books.
What I’m calling a ‘false first step’ is when you buy something that gives your brain the satisfaction of thinking you’ve made progress towards a goal or have broken down some barrier to achieving it. One of the primary goals of consumerist culture is to make you think you’ve accomplished something by spending money. Need to burn some calories? I’ll definitely need that giant rubber exercise ball in order to get started. In reality, you could have have just done 100 air-squats and you’d be significantly further along in your workout journey. I realized that in order to accomplish anything, I had to stop buying books as a crutch and just freakin’ do it. That, in addition to never actually reading them in full is why I stopped buying books.
So, do I still read? Yes – but not in the same way as I used to. For the price of one or two books, I bought a membership to Blinkist. Blinkist is a service that summarizes popular nonfiction books and delivers the key takeaways with a summary that you can read on average in 15 minutes. It’s already been a huge benefit to me because it saves a ton of time while still giving me the satisfaction of learning important concepts from the authors I normally read. I read the ‘Millionaire Mind’ on Blinkist recently (a book I had read in full already) and found that I actually retain more information from the condensed summary because it’s easy for key concepts to get buried in a 250-300 page book.
So hopefully I’ve convinced you that you already have what you need to get started with your goal. If you want to keep reading and learning more, use a tool like Blinkist to get the highlights and get to work!