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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, 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?

  • 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.).
  • 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

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