Let’s get Reading, shall we?

Tips for reading effectively in the 21st century

Welcome to Get, Set, Read.

A newsletter dedicated to helping people to break bad reading patterns and start to enjoy reading.

I am Sridhar, a User Experience Researcher by profession. I spend my days observing how people interact with each other, technology and the world to help designers make better products.

In case you haven’t figured it out already, I am a big-time nerd and a book worm.

When I was a kid, I would spend hours locked up in my room lost in the world of the Famous Five and Hardy Boys. I am a 90s kid. We didn’t have Kindle and iPads back then, only the good old library filled with books from floor to ceiling. Oh, and I used an Oxford pocket dictionary all the time to figure out what the hell Enid Blyton was talking about. I will wait while you young lads google what is a ‘pocket dictionary’.

The weekly trip to the library is a ritual I looked forward to eagerly. Walking through the aisles, and catching a whiff of an old book as I shuffled through the crinkled pages are some of the best times of my childhood.

I have loved books for as long as I can remember. As I grew older my taste in books changed, from Harry Potter to Malcolm Gladwell. Maybe it is part of growing up or interest to know what else was out there, I veered towards non-fiction.

I read books on Psychology, Spirituality, Philosophy, Finance, Technology, Design, Science and what not. After having read 100s of books I realise there is a stark contrast in reading between fiction and non-fiction.

Fiction is primarily for leisure — to allow oneself to be transported to a different realm. Non-fiction is for knowledge — to understanding a concept.

We were taught as children to read linearly — an alphabet, a word, a sentence at a time. But in this day and age, there is way too much information to consume and not enough time to process. All those TV series aren’t going to binge-watch themselves!

Over the past several months, I have analysed how I read, how much information I effectively retain and the return on investment.

Is it really worth spending 5–6 hours on a book when you realise:

  • You were never interested in the subject
  • You are interested but you don’t recollect much of what read
  • You are interested, recall the subject, but have no use for it in real life

I would say that is a terrible waste of time.

So I started reading on reading. That’s so meta, I know.

I changed the way I read and now

  • I have more time to read
  • And remember damn well what I read

I am working on compiling my thoughts in a book that will make you an effective reader. Ergo, this newsletter — to make sure I write regularly.

I created this book cover so I can clearly visualise the goal ahead of me. This is a working title and should evolve as the book proceeds. But I realised that even giving a namesake title makes it all the more real.

Join me on this journey. Tell me about your favourite childhood memory of reading.

P.S: This article was first published in my newsletter.

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UX Research & Strategy, Writer, Voracious Reader