"Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all." - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Why read? I am a firm believer in benefits of Self-education. My belief emanates from the fact that unlike college education which is always confined within a certain framework, self-education is a stricture-free pursuit. In addition to assuming total control of your timetable, you also get to decide what to read, when to read and how much of it to read. For the last five years, I have thoroughly enjoyed this soulful endeavor.
What to read? This one is a no-brainer. Pick up the titles that interest you the most. I have always had a penchant for non-fiction genre; every year I experiment with different sub-genres within this genre. At the start of a new year, I sit down and decide the kind of books I am going to read in that year. Admittedly, my decision on which book to read next is never random and is mostly based on the genre or the subject that has held my imagination of late or the one which I think contributes to my future development. For instance, last year, I read an eclectic mix ranging from sports/survival genre to history, philosophy and science. In 2017, I am keen to whet my financial education once more. Hence, I have on mind classics such as 'Security Analysis' and 'The Intelligent Investor' by Benjamin Graham, books about Warren Buffet (since he is not writing one himself), and books by other money gurus. Additionally, I wish to read more about entrepreneurs to learn and share with my readers the habits and methods of the young millionaires. In the nutshell, my 2017 reading program has 'money' written all over it.
How much to read? In my viewpoint, a workable target is always more motivating than an outrageous one. The latter may excite you initially, but as you fall behind, it would drain your enthusiasm eventually. Please note that I am not saying that you should not set yourself stretch targets. By all means, you should. But there should be a method in madness. To cite an example, in the year 2014, I made a resolution that I would read 50 books. Yes, it was a challenging target, but was it feasible? Hell no! With my full-time day job, that kind of target was always going to be a far-reaching one. So, I strongly suggest to my fellow readers to set yourselves achievable targets and then take it from there. No point in getting swamped with overwhelming numbers.
A realistic target can help you achieve more. A part of it is due to the 'Goal Gradient Effect' which states that as you come in close proximity to your goal, your motivation levels double. It really works! At the same time, a feasible, predetermined list, in my opinion, can make things a little easier. When you know from the get-go what you are going to read, the scope for deviation remains minimal. Plus, I believe a preset list makes you a little more accountable, especially, if you have socialized it (the list) on the internet or discussed it with your friends.