Time to Read

Have you ever wished for more time to read?

Do you squeeze in a few lines of a good book before dozing off at night (then reread those lines the following night because you can’t recall what you read while falling asleep the night before)?

Well, I may have just tapped into some inspiration to help you rev up your reading habits.

As urban legend has it, someone once asked business mogul Warren Buffett about the secret of his success. Buffett purportedly pointed to a big stack of books and said, “I read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Photo by Auntie Ruth 55 via Wikimedia Commons

Sounds like a dare, Mr. Buffett.

Game on.

Science tells us that there are wondrous ways in which such a reading routine might influence our lives (check out the CNBC article here), so it’s tempting to take him up on the challenge.

But, wait, who—besides the average billionaire—has THAT much free time?

Okay, so let’s be reasonable (we farmgirls are good at that). While few busy women have the time to devour 500 pages each day, it’s not farfetched to consider reading that many pages per week. This would still be a significant success compared to the amount you’re reading now, right?

If you’re tempted but still trepidatious about the time commitment, let’s turn to some simple statistics:

First, how much time does it really take to read 500 pages?

Just the facts, ma’am:

  • According to Forbes.com, the average reading speed of an adult is about 300 words per minute.
  • As author Meg Cabot calculates, the average paperback book has about 300 words per page.

So, most of us can probably average about a page per minute, or 500 pages in 500 minutes (roughly eight hours).

Do you have eight spare hours to read each week? Before you answer, let’s crunch some more numbers (here’s where things get interesting):

How much time does the average American spend on social media and television each week?

  • SocialMediaToday.com says that an average American spends an average of 116 minutes on social media daily (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter combined—note, that doesn’t even count Web surfing, shopping, etc.).
  • NYDailyNews.com reports that the average American watches five hours (300 minutes) of TV per day, equaling 1,500 minutes per week (roughly 25 hours!).

See what I’m getting at here?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect any of us to completely shun our social media or even turn away from a good TV program now and then. But, just look at how much time is jingling in our metaphorical pockets and slipping through a hole, virtually unnoticed.

The numbers don’t lie; we simply have to account for them and save them up a bit more conscientiously to spend on life-enhancing endeavors.

Like reading lots of great books.

On that note, what’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Photo by Bib Bornem via Pixabay

P.S. Just for fun …

Take a speed reading test online at ReadingSoft.com

Leave a comment 17 Comments

  1. Nielsen,Winifred T. says:

    I love to read books and good articles in thoughtful magazines. This past year, I have enjoyed several. historical fiction novels that depict strong women. They have been quite inspiring! My latest great read was The Widow’s War by Sally Gunning. She also has a book about Monticello that I have ordered from Amazon. Can’t wait to get started on that one as Monticello is located in my home town of Charlottesville, Va. Thomas Jefferson is one of my favorite colonial founding fathers to read about.

  2. Karlyne says:

    I’m finishing up Jane Eyre, which I haven’t read in decades, so I’m finding it a lot of fun. Well, it’s not really a “fun” book, but it is definitely a worthy book.

    My secret to reading lots and lots of books (I’m currently designing a new 12′ long book case) is to read in the morning with my coffee, and I’ve pretty much always done that, even when I had little kids. Yes, it meant getting up an hour earlier than they did, but it’s always been what starts the day out right. And, besides, when you’re debating on whether or not to get up that early, the thought of Coffeeeeee and Good Boooook can really motivate you.

  3. Deon Matzen says:

    I definitely am not a speed reader. I read every word, and yes, I have to reread some that I snooze through in bed falling asleep. I keep a record of all the books I have read (though sometimes I do forget to write one down) and last year (2016) I read 95 books. So far this year I have read 14. I think I am a little behind. The amazing thing about this is that I didn’t really learn to read until I was in my 20s. I couldn’t make sense of words on the page all through school. No one diagnosed dyslexia, just said I was lazy. I could get it if I read it three or four times. Reading was a great labor. As an adult, I started reading humorous books when I commuted on the bus two hours each day, and over about five years managed to teach myself to read. Now I am a voracious reader. No TV (for 45 years) and no social media. I find books a much better form of entertainment and education than mindless television or chatty social media.

  4. BB king says:

    Well I dont do any social media at all so I have all that time theoretically to read. Also no TV set so all that time but I will admit to watching TV shows on Netflix a bit, but how can people watch TV of 5hrs a day? dont they have any lives? just frightening.
    I have a pile of books that I intended to read this winter and well here it is the first of March and I only got to maybe 3 of them. I find I read more in summer actually. Lying in the Chaise lounge with Frankie the outdoor cat , very relaxing after a hard day in the fields/garden.
    I do a lot of research for my seed business with old and antique garden books mostly on plants, botany, etc .
    I do admit to liking mysteries , am on volume 2 ( of 3 so far in the series ) of the Jane Austen mysteries ( by Stephanie Barron ) as though she actually wrote them, very well done in her style.
    Ok MaryJane, I take your gauntlet throwing and will try for 500 pages a week. Luckily I am a very fast reader, haha.

  5. Krista says:

    My speed reading test confirms that I am a slow reader. I was aware of that and planned to read some books this year to help out. I haven’t been much of a reader in the past but enjoy “getting away” when I do read. At the first of this year I made a small reasonable list of books to read by the end of the year and have finished one book already. I have started the second book but have pushed it aside. Looks like I need to get it out and start up again!

  6. Rita Sayers says:

    The Bible is my most favorite book.Sometimes I will read just a little, then spend a lot of time meditating on what all is in the little I just read….AMAZING!!!!!

  7. Diane Benjamin says:

    One of thing things I love most about MJF magazine is that, as compared with others, it is packed (!) with great short ‘reads’. Also, I just finished the book Night Flying Woman (again! Read it years ago). It is a wonderful quick read that I bet lots of sisters would love! So that’s a little kick-start-reading suggestion! ❤

  8. Linda Hickman says:

    The Christian Bible is my favorite. So much encouragement and joy can be found within its pages!

  9. I really enjoyed reading 7 Men and the Secret to Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. It gave short bios of some great men of faith. My review can be found here: http://sarahannecarter.com/7-men-and-the-secret-to-their-greatness-by-eric-metaxas/.

    • Karen Luchterhand says:

      I just put that book on hold. Did you know there is also 7 Women and the Secret to Their Greatness? Have you read it?

  10. Susan See says:

    My 89-year-old dad reads every day, from morning to night. He also prepares his own food, shops, does dishes etc. But he reads about 7 books a week, fiction. He says the folks at the library are the most important people in town.

  11. Karlyne says:

    I’ve always agreed with your dad. When I was a kid getting a library card was the first thing we’d do when we moved into a new town.

  12. Karen Luchterhand says:

    I am a book-a-holic. If I see print, I read it almost compulsively. The latest fictional book that I just finished is Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Technically, it would be considered a fantasy but it is the fantasy of magic rather than fantastic creatures. The book centers around a competition, the circus of dreams, and love. The reader is transported to times past and distant places. This is a wonderful book to spend time with irregardless of age.

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