I read a lot. I read books on all sorts of subjects: nutrition, science, physics, history, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, paleoarcheology, biography, business and others. I read mystery novels for fun. And I throw in a contemporary (non mystery) novel here and there as the mood strikes me. Although I’m a political junkie, I don’t read many books on politics. I feed that addiction through a number of daily news feeds.
A survey just came out showing the average British home contains 138 books. I probably have 138 books just on my nightstand (shown below). I have never counted the total number of books I own, but I would estimate it’s in the 8,000-10,000 range.

My Reading History

I’ve loved to read since I was a kid. I haunted the public and school libraries of every place we ever lived while I was growing up. And we lived a lot of places. I attended twelve different elementary schools from first grade through sixth, two junior high schools and three high schools. To say my family was peripatetic is an understatement. I was always the new kid in school. I usually hated it. And I buried myself in books as a consequence.
Although I attended a multitude of different schools, there was always one scenario that occurred in each, all the way through high school. Back then, all schools gave what were called achievement tests–i.e., standardized tests used to compare student performance against the test database of students. The faculty used them to see how their students compared to the national average.
I’ve always had a bent for math, so I did well on the quantitative parts of these tests. And since I read so much, I did well on verbal sections. I was routinely near the top, if not at the very top, of these tests in whichever school they were given. Problem was, I wasn’t a particularly good student overall. My grades were average or a little above average at best.
The huge disconnect between my test scores (allegedly showing my ability) and my grades (showing my performance) was huge. Which inevitably resulted in a call for a parent teacher conference.
They went something like this:
Teacher: As his achievement tests show, Mike is a very smart kid.
My Parents: Yes, we know.
Teacher: But his grades are mediocre. He’s not performing up to his ability.
My Parents: So we’ve been told many times.
Teacher: He does pretty well when he takes tests in his classes, but he falls down on his homework. He’s usually late with it and gets his grade docked. Sometimes, he doesn’t turn it in at all.
My parents: Yes, he’s had that problem at other schools.
Teacher: Usually in these cases, the student is watching too much television. So, I would recommend limiting Mike’s TV time to maybe an hour or so a day on school days. How much TV does he watch?
My parents: Almost none.
Teacher: (After a bit of silence) What does he do then?
My Parents: He reads.
Teacher: (Long silence) What does he read?
My parents: Anything he can get his hands on.
Teacher: Hmmm. I’ve never encountered this problem.
So my lust for reading, developed at an early age, made me an average student, but developed skills allowing me to read fast and with good comprehension. And made reading a relaxing activity for me instead of the chore it is for so many people.

How I read now

Whenever people come to my house and see all the books, the first question they invariably ask is, “Did you read all these books?” Followed shortly by, “How do you have the time to read so much?”
Last question first. I have the time, because I make the time. I often retort to this question by asking my interlocutor, “How do you have time for sex?” The obvious answer is that we make time for that which we enjoy. If reading isn’t an enjoyment, why would anyone make time for it?
I steal every moment I can to read. I have books in my car in case I’m stalled in traffic. When MD goes to the grocery store, I wait in the car and read. I read here and there throughout the day, and I read especially at night when there are no distractions.
I have a system for nighttime reading. I usually have a number of books going at any time, so I start with the most complex. I read till I’m sleepy. Then I grab the next one that’s a little less complex and read it till I’m sleepy. Then the next. And on down the line till I hit a novel I’m in the midst of, which goes down easy and often keeps me reading another hour or so.
And I read on airplanes. MD and I just flew on a long multi-city jaunt (Santa Barbara to LA to NY to Philly to Chicago to Detroit to Santa Barbara), and I got a ton of reading in. On the LAX to JFK leg (almost five hours) I read a handful of medical papers, a couple of chapters in one book and another cover to cover.
We were sitting in the front bulkhead seats in coach (seats 11 D and E). About two thirds of the way into the flight, I walked to the back to hit the restroom. As I walked back up the aisle, I counted 61 of the 72 people in the coach section watching an inflight movie. That’s about 85 percent. I would bet at least half of those people, if not more, had at sometime said that they just didn’t have the time to read. Yet there they are, stuck on a plane, with no cell phones, no distractions, and they make the choice for passive entertainment instead of reading.
The biggest problem with being a voracious reader is dealing with all the books. We have multiple libraries throughout our houses and still have books stacked everywhere. We’ve long ago run out of room for more books, but they still keep coming in.
When the Kindle came out, I was confronted with a real problem. MD, who feels as if she’s being buried in books, took to the Kindle like a duck to water. Now she sulks if she has to read an actual physical book. She has refused to read a number of books unless we get them on Kindle. The daily newspaper is a different matter entirely for her, which she prefers in the old fashioned paper form to the electronic version.
I, on the other hand, didn’t take to the Kindle as easily as she did.
Part of the problem is that I enjoy the physical presence of books. I love to flip through them, go back and forth to check stuff I’ve already read or to look up references. I had a few bad experiences with non-fiction books on the Kindle, so I limited my Kindle reading to fiction only, or at least mostly.
One of the huge benefits of Kindle is that I can carry hundreds of books on my iPad Mini when I travel. Used to be, I would load down my briefcase and another carry on (and sometimes the checked bags) with books. I would typically buy one or two more on the trip, and end up with books out the yang that I had to schlep back home.
I would much rather read a real book than a digital book, though the digital books have a terrific advantage, which I’ll go over in a bit.
I’ve resolved the problem by purchasing both the physical book and the digital version for most of the books I buy. I justify it by telling myself that Amazon discounts the physical books enough to make up for the price I pay for the Kindle version. Therefore I get both books for the full retail price of a physical book. It’s my way of supporting the publishing industry, which I do not want to see die.

What is a Kindle?

For those of you who know, skip on down. A Kindle is a device sold by Amazon that allows you to download and read the digital version of most books currently published. When this technology was first developed, all that was available were the Kindle devices sold by Amazon. Then when iPhones, iPads and other smart phone and tablet technology came about, Amazon developed a Kindle app that could be downloaded free. I wasn’t a big fan of the actual original Kindle when it came out, mainly because it wasn’t backlit and so was hard to read at night when I read a lot. But I did (and do) like the Kindle app and can download books to my iPhone, iPad and even my laptop. I do almost all of my Kindle app reading on my iPad Mini. Occasionally, I’ll find myself stuck somewhere without a book, so I’ll read on my iPhone. My entire digital library is in the Cloud, so I can access it on any device that has the Kindle app.
I like to mark up and make notes in all my books. When I was a youth, I handled all my books carefully and made notes on note cards and random sheets of paper, all of which invariably got lost. I did this because I thought the books I was buying might have more value in years to come because they were pristine. Then, overcome by hubris, I persuaded myself that someday I would be famous, and any books I owned and had notes in would be more valuable than those without simply because I had owned them. Hasn’t really worked out that way, but it did get me to begin underlining and keeping notes in all my books.
I was delighted to discover I could actually mark up digital books just like real ones. And better yet, I could keep all those notes for any given book in one place, so I didn’t even have to hunt for the book to find them. (MD was thrilled not to have to live with dozens, nay hundreds, of random scraps of paper lying about with my important scribbles on them.)
Here are a couple of screen shots of underlining in a digital book on my iPad Mini. The first is from a great book on a new way of determining how best to see which parts of the golf game really contribute the most to lower scores. I underlined this bit because it described the confirmation bias well. How many golf books address the confirmation bias? Not many, I would venture.
Here is another line I underlined in An Officer and a Spy, a terrific novelization of the Dreyfus Affair, written by Robert Harris, one of my favorite authors.
An Officer and A Spy

Your own Kindle page

Most people don’t realize it, but when you purchase digital books through Amazon and download them on either your Kindle device or through the Kindle app, you have your very own Kindle page on Amazon. How do you get to it? Click the link below:
You will be asked for your Amazon account info, then taken to your own Kindle page.
Your Kindle page will contain every book you’ve ever ordered digitally through Amazon. And what’s more, your Kindle page will save all your notes and underlinings from all the digital books you’ve read.
Here is my Kindle page showing the quote from the golf book mentioned above.
KIndle Page Every Shot Counts
And here is the one from An Officer and the Spy:
Kindle page - Officer and a Spy
So, you’ll have all the things you thought important or of interest in any given book archived for you in one place.
Whenever I have a long excerpt from a book I want to copy and email to someone or drop into a blog post, I always underline it, then go to my Kindle page for the book in question and copy the excerpt. Saves me from having to type it all in. One of the disappointments for me re the Kindle app is that you can’t copy anything and email it. But the Kindle page is the next best thing.

But it gets even better

Sometimes I pick up a book and riffle through it and wonder whether it’s really worth the time to read from cover to cover. I always wish I had a way to skim the highlights to see if the book is worth a complete read.
Now there is such a way.
Amazon gathers all the underlinings of all the people who read and underline their digital books. By some algorithm, the most common underlinings of any given book are then shown in the text of the book. These show up in the book as hashed lined underlining.  See below from Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power.
Underlined Smarter
Where this comes in handy for me is that when I see a book I’m wondering about reading, I can purchase it through Kindle for a few bucks, then go to my Kindle page and see all the aggregated underlines from all the other people who have read it. Takes me about 10-15 minutes to go through an entire book this way, just zipping from one peak to the next of what other readers thought was important. I can then make a more reasoned choice as to whether to put in the time to read the whole book or just get by on what I’ve learned from the underlinings of others.
Here is a look at a few of the Popular Highlights on my Kindle page for the book Smarter mentioned above. Based on what other readers underlined, I decided to read this book.
Kindle highlights Smarter
When I find a book I think I might want to read, but don’t want to get it now, I put it on my Amazon wish list so I don’t forget about it. I go through this list periodically and grab a book or two. And it’s there for any gift giving occasions should my family want to get something for me that will be appreciated. As you might imagine, I get a lot of books for birthdays and Christmas. If I keep this list updated, I’m easy to shop for, and I always get something I want.
Here is my Amazon wish list should anyone be overcome by a strong urge to send me something. 🙂
That’s about it on all my reading tips and tricks.
If you have tips and tricks of your own, please share in the comments. I would love to learn any and all.

Just for grins, here are the last 20 books I downloaded via my Kindle app.
Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power
Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious
Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein : Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists that Changed our Understanding of Life and the Universe
The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease
An Officer and a Spy
Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy
The Man From Berlin
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Death in Bordeaux
How to Write Groundhog Day
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles
Chill Factor: 7
Cholesterol is Not the Culprit: A Guide to Preventing Heart Disease
A Detailed Man
Thinking Statistically


  1. It’s great that you get why your readers really appreciate and enjoy posts like this. Thank you.
    A few random points related to this entry:
    –You mentioned that reading is relaxing for you now because of how much you’ve done over your life, which makes perfect sense and is a great message, especially for kids. But, then, why did you read so much as a kid? Did it seem more a chore at that time (at least as compared with now), but worth it to satisfy your voracious curiosity? Or was it in some way always relaxing to you, even as a kid.
    –A word of caution to Kindle newbies about the public highlighting feature, when used to scope books out and glean your degree of interest. Although it often depends on the type of book, I find that the public highlights often aren’t the best sample “meat” from these books, but merely the best-sounding sound bite, which can be misleading and give a peruser the wrong “feel” for the book. A pro-reader like yourself is likely able to quickly catch –even kind of “sense”– more meat around the area of the highlight than the avg-reader, but I find myself disagreeing quite often with the sections quoted that are used to assert a certain key point made in the book. I actually think that there is a certain amount of “Groupthink” that goes along with Kindle highlighting. The first person who highlights a section make it more likely that later readers will be predisposed to believing that if someone highlighted some section, it “must be important,” making them thereby more likely to also highlight that section, instead of deciding for themselves, and so on with future readers.
    Believe it or not, one method of scoping out a book that I enjoy (and one that I find even more reliable than scanning public highlighting within that book) is going through Book Reviews on Amazon. By default, Amazon conveniently groups book reviews (as with its products) in order of “most helpful” (as determined by public votes) on downward, and it’s amazing how great these reviewers are (I believe Dick Cheney, a fellow voracious reader, was at one time one of the top reviewers on Amazon, under a pen name, of course).
    –My favorite thing about Kindle is the ability to choose any book at any time wherever I am. I’m a “moody” reader. I never know what book I will be in the mood to read at a certain time on a given day, so I love that the Kindle gives you the power to choose on the spot and not be locked into the only book you happened to bring with you that day, like the old days (aka, 6 or 7 years ago?). Over the past week, I finished a few books mainly by switching back and forth between them every half hour or so. I had a “fun” book (“The Bad Guys Won” about the 1986 Mets) that served as my “breaks” and helped me focus better and read the more serious material in the other two books when I returned to them.
    –Your wish list hyperlink doesn’t display. When I clicked on it, MY wish list popped up. Was wondering if there might be some Michael Savage books on there (though I know you don’t like reading books on politics, and I actually do get why, as it’s so fluid day-to-today, like news), but I thought you might enjoy the works of a fellow man of science who, like you, has successfully ventured into other spaces that were not his original bread and butter (er, sorry for that one).
    –PP is on Kindle but, sadly, not PPLP. In our trip to Hawaii last year, I brought my Kindle with the intent on belatedly reading the latter. Luckily, Amazon 2-day’d me the hard copy, and saved our trip. Another huge plus about having the hard copy– I was holding it in some of our Hawaii pictures! Ya can’t get a glimpse of “what you were reading at the time” if all you’re holding up is a Kindle. Worse yet, what if you are reading a book by your favorite author on a Kindle and, amazingly, you run into that author in a chance encounter. He or she could not very well sign your Kindle. Well, I suppose they could, but….

    1. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandfather was an educator, and he would bring home samples of books for the different school years. I picked one of these up, started reading the stories and have pretty much been a reader since. Due to the many moves we made over the years (along with a number of other reasons), I didn’t have the greatest childhood, so I read a lot as a form of escape.
      I, too, read Amazon reviews. I pay the most attention to the four star and three star ones because I feel they are the most objective (a tip I got from Tim Ferriss). I’ve been read astray, however, by Amazon reviews (don’t know if they were planted or not). I’ll buy the Kindle version based on the Amazon reviews, but use the Popular Highlights to see if it’s worth taking the time to read.
      I’ve fixed my Wish List link, so feel free to order away. 🙂
      I have no control as to whether any of our books ends up on Kindle.

      1. Dear Dr. Mike: Due to tragic death of my young father I had much the same childhood experience as you, moving at least once every school year, sometimes out of school for weeks or months. I, too, was a reader, luckily, but suffered in school from simply missing too much during the years when the groundwork (used to be) laid for achievement. I struggled, made honor society my junior and senior years — a miracle. I wanted to be a good student but my home life prevented that. When I discovered the great library of the internet, I began to realize that we don’t have to be in school to learn, and though I still have a library of thousands of books, I find the internet to be extremely useful because it’s where I learn so much about health and wellness…don’t mean to be smarmy…at websites like yours. Thanks for sharing the story of your childhood struggles, which I think is more the norm than we might think. Now 69, I realize my childhood made me a tough survivor, which isn’t all bad. Best wishes.

    2. Jeff wrote: “Believe it or not, one method of scoping out a book that I enjoy (and one that I find even more reliable than scanning public highlighting within that book) is going through Book Reviews on Amazon. By default, Amazon conveniently groups book reviews (as with its products) in order of “most helpful” (as determined by public votes) on downward, and it’s amazing how great these reviewers are…”
      I use reviews on Amazon for buying classical music, in addition to books as you stated. For the most part, the classical music reviews are amazing, in-depth, and by people who truly know what they’re talking about. ( Btw, I’m a classical musician (pianist), read as much as Dr. Eades & in much the same ways, but haven’t left any music reviews on Amazon.)

  2. [laughing] I grok this problem… I have about 8000 pounds of books in storage. Boxed up, they filled an average-sized bedroom, stacked 6 feet high. I have probably 10x that many on the computer. Compulsive reader since the age of four. Cereal boxes and toilet-paper labels if nothing else is available!

  3. Thanks, I have to tell my pre-med daughter about the kindle page feature! She is getting kindle versions of many of her text books (in addition to hard copies) for convenient studying anywhere.
    Don’t forget the search function. If there’s a word or phrase you’re looking for, you can search and get a list of where it appears in the book.

  4. OMG, I’ve been a Kindle user since the first one came out, had no idea about the personalized Kindle page – that rocks! Much easier to look at my notes and highlights. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Hi Dr. Mike,
    Another great post, as usual. I was wondering if you had seen the new “Spritz” reading technology? When I saw it, I immediately thought of you. I was then terrified to think of how much MORE you could read with this technology if you enjoyed it. Would love to hear your thoughts on it. The website is spritzinc.com. Not sure yet if I could use it a ton, but it looks very interesting.
    All the best,

    1. I’ve looked at this before. Don’t know exactly how it works, but I can already read faster than 650 wpm, so if that is their max, I’m not sure it can help me.

  6. I recently discovered another great way to use Kindle when traveling: Send To Reader.
    It’s a free app (http://sendtoreader.com/) you instal on your computer and that allows you to send web content (e.g. blog posts, science papers, think pieces that don’t lend themselves to being read on a computer screen) to your Kindle. I just traveled to Europe and back which allowed me to catch up on weeks of article-reading!
    Thanks for your wonderful blog.
    Best, Conner

    1. Thanks for the heads up on this. When I first got a Kindle device years ago, it gave instructions on how to do something similar. I sent it a bunch of medical papers, but it didn’t display them properly, so I figured the technology wasn’t quite ready for prime time. I’ll take a look now to see if it’s improved.
      What I usually do with these is send them to either Dropbox or Evernote. Then pull down on my iPad Mini and open in iBook, which provides a pretty good reading experience. I used to always travel with a crap load of scientific papers I was waiting to get time to read. Now I get them all on iBook, which reduces my luggage load.

    2. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks, Conner! Kindle used to charge (I don’t remember how much, perhaps $1 or $2 to email yourself PDFs, is there a fee for this similar service? How is the formatting (that was also an issue many years ago when I first bought my Kindle II and began emailing myself my personal teaching notes).

  7. I use the Kindle app on the iPad extensively. I have a lot of bookmarks for The Six Week cure, especially the recipes.
    You might want to check out Scribd (www.scribd.com) where for a monthly subscription of $8 you can read any book they offer as well as a number of papers and other documents that have been posted to the site. I’ve only been using it for a month so I’m not sure how extensive their collection is, or how many new books are available. There certainly are a lot of novels to read. They have an iPad app and you can download the books for offline reading. It might be useful if you are on the fence about buying a certain book.

    1. Hmmm. I’ve used Scribd a lot in the past, mainly to post medical papers I wanted to link to in my blog. Saved server space that I was having to pay for. Now that I can do it through Dropbox, I’ve more or less ditched Scribd because it’s a process to get something put up there. Didn’t realize they had started a subscription service. I’ll have to take a look.

  8. I also love my Kindle and Kindle app. It’s also easy to send a PDF to your Kindle account by doing the following: send an email to yourself@kindle.com (edit appropriately) with “Convert” in the subject line and PDF files as attachments. The results are nearly always excellent. Hope you find this useful.

    1. Thanks for the info. I usually do this through Evernote, which also has a unique email address. I’ll try it with Kindle.

    2. I used to use this service many years ago but was frustrated with the fee (they used to charge to email stuff to yourself, so they still do that?) and the poor formatting. I used to email myself my lecture outline for the law classes I teach, which were immaculately formatted… until they got to my Kindle!

  9. Dr. Mike:
    Thanks for this piece. Although I’m probably not as voracious a reader as you, I too spend a lot of time reading which I also find very enjoyable (most of the time) unless it’s something like a government publication that I can’t avoid at least once or twice a year (such as the Federal Income Tax Guide). 🙂
    I have to mostly credit my mother for getting me more interested in reading. She started buying books for me when I was maybe 9 years old. She got me hooked on Zane Grey for starters and it went from there.
    Re Amazon books, you didn’t mention that you can often download a preview of a book that interests you, such as its table of contents and maybe even several chapters as well. A very useful feature that enables you to better decide if you actually want to buy the book or not.
    BTW, this is a bit OT, but have you seen or maybe even read “Grain Brain” co-authored by Dr. David Perlmutter? It’s been on the NY Times best seller list for its category for a number of weeks now. The author focuses on the neurological effects of wheat and other grains in the diet. If you are familiar with the book, I think many of your blog readers (me included) would be interested in your view of it. Although I haven’t acquired the book yet, I read a preview of it on Amazon which was intriguing.
    Wil B.

    1. Strangely enough, I, too, became hooked on Zane Grey at an early age. At my grandparents house I came across a trove of Zane Grey books that I read one after the other. My all time favorite was The Young Forrester, which was a boy’s book, but I also loved The Last Trail and The Spirit of the Border. Lewis Wetzel was my hero.
      One of those books in the photo of my nightstand is Grain Brain. I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I was perhaps put off by a review by a doctor whose blog I read. I disagree with some of this review, but not all. I have a problem with both the reviewer’s and Perlmutter’s acceptance of the value of the Mediterranean Diet as the perfect diet. Most, if not all, of the studies of the Mediterranean Diet are absolute crap, but just like the myth that saturated fat is bad, this diet has captured the hearts and souls of just about everyone.

      1. There’s a new Kindle “publisher” (I quote that because I cannot vouch for their legitimacy, so I won’t put their name here) that puts out book summaries. Since, I’m currently in the middle of a few other low carb books (including finally getting around to one you’ve highly recommended: The Art and Science of Low Carb Living, which is excellent, though some of it beyond my layperson comprehension, something incredibly never true about your books, despite their depth and fascinating technicality at times), I read through the summary version of Grain Brain and learned little more than I already knew from reading your books and blog. Which is not to say it would not be helpful for those who haven’t read any of the science…it’s just more limited than other, much better, low carb books like your and the Art and Science one. In case you’re interested, here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Grain-Brain-Surprising-Perlmutter-Analysis-ebook/dp/B00IJG7IDO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1395691189&sr=8-2&keywords=grain+brain

      2. “Lewis Wetzel was my hero”
        I don’t know what to say, except Me Too!!! I have never encountered another Lew Wetzel fan before! I was beyond excited in college when I found an early biography of Lewis Wetzel in the university’s special collections library. I own a copy of it now 🙂
        Thundering Hooves was the first Zane Grey book I read, and Riders of the Purple Sage completed the addiction but the stories of the Zanes and Wetzel on the frontier were the best.
        Zane Grey had genius far exceeding his ability to churn out popular fiction.

        1. Yes, the Lew Wetzel fan club is a small one these days, though I suspect it was much larger 80 years or so ago when these books were published. I always thought they were totally fictional until one day, much to my surprise, I discovered ol’ Le Vent de la Mort was a real person. Made the books even better. I probably read the Wetzel/Zane ones at least half a dozen times each.

  10. I loved this post, as I loved the one about the daily reading strategy, that I robbed from many feed sources.
    I choose the iPad over the kindle just for the reason you cannot copy a portion of text (BTW you can do it on the kindle with a workaround: just search for the text you intend to copy…).
    Most of the fun in reading ebooks is sharing short passages via mail, social networks, keep annotations in evernote… It’s no fun if you cannot do it.
    Amazon is a wonderful system but too closed as yet, for me at least.
    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  11. I know my parents had the same conferences with teachers, I also read multiple books at the same time and carry one wherever I go. A recent vacation required 2 ‘airplane’ books and enough to see me through a 4 day trip (6 books total) – and I spent much of the days being a tourist! And I also have not enjoyed my Kindle as much as people tell me that I should.
    But I have also started “reading and releasing” – I buy a book (or 3) and resell it as soon as I am done. A few years ago I helped my FIL downsize his apartment and made so many unprofitable trips to a used bookseller, carting 50+ books a day for many weeks that I don’t want to make my own children deal with my hordes of books. On the one hand, I feel empty without all of my books around me. On the other hand, with an amazon wishlist of 7 pages, that feeling rarely lasts.

    1. I’m glad to know there is a kindred soul out there.
      In my case, all the kids are already arguing over who gets custody of my library when I go on to my reward.

  12. If you read ebook formats other than Kindle, Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) is a very helpful tool for organizing content and converting between various ebook formats.
    I saw Antifragile in the picture of your books above, really enjoyed that. If you would like a book that touches on politics, religion and evolutionary psychology you might enjoy “The Righteous Mind – Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt
    Finally, my wife can’t stand the piles of kindle/tablet/phone/mags/books on my nightstand, she just ordered a custom nightstand she hopes will allow easy access and encourage out of sight storage…..

    1. I did read the Haidt book when it first came out. I loved it. It was in the giant pile on my nightstand that I moved to allow the current pile to accumulate without falling over. I got hooked on Haidt when I read his first book, which I reviewed years ago.

  13. Kindle, shmindle. I read books on my iPhone. Kindle devices do not fit in my shirt pocket. And like Mrs. Dr., I have come to prefer reading books off of a screen rather than from paper. Only problem: battery life, which got very short before my iPhone was a year old.

  14. One advantage of Kindle over book for aging eyes is ability to adjust the font; print size can affect speed.
    If tables/graphs/calculations are involved i always go for the book.
    Fun novels i use Kindle.
    Variations in speed of reading as you probably know has to due with vision pathway and one’s brain processing ability. Just like athletes with slow/fast twitch muscle differences, all of us are endowed differently in reading skills. Of course they can be improved by all with practice, but you seem to have been fortunate in being wired for the speed and comprehension you achieve.
    Your grades in school could not have been to bad; afterall, you did go to medical school and graduated!
    Excellent post

  15. I am always happy to learn of people who buy and save books, although I admit my spouse talked me into eliminating a couple of thousand books when we downsized. Already some of them are appearing back on the shelves, mostly because I don’t have kindle versions and can’t refer back to my underlined passages. That said I prefer to reach for a physical book when I want to refer back to something.
    I often buy books buy books and their kindle versions, and like you, I read the 3 and 4 star reviews and buy the kindle version first to see if I want to give the book the time of a thorough reading. The kindle is great for travel, and great for reading in bed, because I can read without my glasses, which is an advantage, having dosed off and bent glasses before, but there is always a large stack of books on my bedside table next to the kindle. I tend to start with the books, move to the kindle when I get tired, and then move to easier or lighter books.

  16. I told my husband I will die in the house we live in, because I never want to pack up and move my books again.

    1. Yes, it’s a daunting task to move. And to house hunt. Many great houses fall by the wayside because there is no place for the books.

  17. Many have commented on their preference for ebooks or “real” books. Saw some interesting information on how reading a paper book is very different in how the mind processes it. The multiple senses that are engaged improves recall, even leading to a “map” of the content of the book in the brain, something that apparently does not happen with ebooks. Here’s one such article with the relevant section about 50% into the article….

    1. Thanks for the link. I suspect it is true that the mind processes the two differently, but I think (based on no data whatsoever) that with enough time spent reading digitally, the mind probably processes better than it did at first.

  18. Thanks so much for this information, Doc! I’ve been a Kindle reader from the get-go and had no idea that all my notes could be accessed from the Kindle web site. And searchable, too!
    Again, thanks!

  19. As an ebook historical FYI, the Mobi reader format, a French company, was around at least a decade ago. No Kindle, just certain “devices” like my Nokia Communicator phones. No interaction, no notes, just read.
    What happened to Mobi? It was bought by……………..Amazon. It’s the core code to their AZW format.
    I don’t own a Kindle, but I buy some books to read on my PC. Generally, brief and informative, no novels. Like you, I love a physical book. “Look, ma! No technology!”

  20. I was a high tester/mediocre student, too. Except for a few classes, I hated school. I didn’t watch much TV, either–the fact that my parents had it on 18 hours a day drove me bananas. Mostly, I read, painted and drew, since there wasn’t much else to do out in the suburban boonies.
    I read my Kindle on the bus while the other passengers are texting and playing games. One of the best things about a Kindle is that you can lay it flat on the counter while you make a recipe instead of having to force a paper book to stay open.

  21. “I have a system for nighttime reading. I usually have a number of books going at any time, so I start with the most complex. I read till I’m sleepy. Then I grab the next one that’s a little less complex and read it till I’m sleepy. Then the next. And on down the line. . .”
    Your system for nighttime reading is analogous to Bernstein’s system of weight lifting. I wonder what other systems it would work with.

  22. Dear Dr. Eades, please forgive me for saying this. But all this reading means you are constantly on RECEIVE. Is there time left for your own thoughts and contemplation?

    1. Yes, plenty of time. One of the virtues of reading fast is that it doesn’t take as much time as reading slowly. Leaves me plenty of time and subject matter to contemplate. And to play golf.

  23. Thank you for this inspiring post.
    Apart from claiming they don’t have the time to read, many people say they are too tired to read and they have difficulty concentrating or fall asleep after just a few pages (during the day or early evening).
    Many people are chronically exhausted and need regular stimulants to get through the day.
    There’s nothing sexier than a man who loves to read!!

  24. I really enjoyed this post and your relationship to books reminds me of my husband who can’t move without something readable in his hand. We too have thousands of print books but for me, they are virtually inaccessible as I’m totally blind. But the advent of ebooks has changed my life. It used to be my husband who spent lots of money on books, but now it’s me. My husband used to read to me but in recent years, he hasn’t had the time. I read ebooks on my iPhone and buy from the iBookStore, kindle and Kobo. The built-in screen reader has made all this accessible for people like me. I do have some Braille books but they take up so much space that they really aren’t practical. By the way, “Protein Power” was one of the first ebooks I bought, as was “Good Calories, Bad Calories”.

  25. I love your posts, especially the ones on reading…I have not made the switch to digital reading though my husband and son love their Kindles. I long ago ran out of book space but I get around that by borrowing most of the books I read from my local library.
    If I could quit my day job and spend most of my time reading I would be a very happy camper…though I must admit that since I discovered Coursera, I have signed up for so many of their online classes (mostly in history, my passion since high school) that listening to the lectures on my Chromebook does seriously cut into my limited reading time.

    1. If I could quit my day job, shuck all my responsibilities and live the life I would love to live (or at least that I think I would love to live), I would spend each morning reading and studying, each early afternoon creating (sculpting, painting, drawing, writing) and each late afternoon on the golf course. I would do this all over the world following the sun.

      1. I’m in the process of writing my first textbook (business law). The publisher gives some cookie-cutter cover options unless we provide our own. Perhaps you’d like to sketch the cover (or maybe you already have one that works)? 🙂

        1. Don’t think any of my drawings would be appropriate for the cover of a business law book, but you’re welcome to use them. 🙂

  26. Interesting post w/ some clever ideas. I have note used the book underlining method of screening through Amazon but seems like it is worth a shot. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Aside from three book shelves I have, I just recently bought 18 milk crates to store/organize my other books. I like that I can stack them (I have decently high ceilings) and move them around 1, 2, or 3 at a time — also makes for a nice little workout.

  28. Dr. Eades – Thank you for writing this; I am also a long time avid reader. I’d love to keep all my books but just don’t have the space so I lend (aka “give away”) many books to friends and donate to the library (mostly non-fiction reading that I likely won’t re-read). Having a kindle now should reduce the storage problem although I still like hardcopy books. I prefer reading on my standard (not backlit) kindle over reading on an iPad as it seems easier on my eyes. Another advantage to the kindle is the ease in looking up words in the dictionary.
    I am always astonished at how little the average person reads (or so it seems…)

  29. Pardon the self-praise, but I have found that people that find and adopt low carb seem to be analytical, critical thinkers, are often scientists, engineers, computer experts, etc.
    I have a degree in genetics and did research in immunology and ophthalmology at Hahnemann Med School before becoming a finance guy and now a strategy / productivity consultant.
    My own low carb journey started with a “before” and then “after” spreadsheet of calories, macronutrient composition and energy use, weighing my food as well, tracking my activity. Then keeping calories in / out the same, only taking carbs to under 50g/d, I lost over 40 pounds. After the first 20 or so, appetite and calories in did decline, but not in a huge way.
    When I look at the folks responding to this thread, there are many voracious readers and the other threads reflect critical, scientific method type thinking.
    Dr. Eades (and others), have you found that those living low carb tend to have a certain critical thinking ability as I’ve suggested?

    1. Boy, are you ever bringing a nice fastball down the middle for me to send over the fence.
      Yes, of course, those living low-carb have those critical thinking abilities. Here’s why.
      With the constant mainstream media bombardment of the low-fat way of life, those who don’t think for themselves just paddle along with the current. It takes someone with critical thinking skills to question the conventional wisdom and ask if it’s really wisdom or just so much BS. Once people delve into it, they discover that virtually all of the studies done comparing low-carb diets to low-fat diets, and even to the much-beloved (by the mainstream media) Mediterranean diet, show, at worst, that the diets are equal and at best that the low-carb diet is triumphant. In no studies – none that I know of, at any rate – in which the low-fat diet goes head to head with the low carb diet, does the low-fat diet come out ahead.

  30. I read with interest your teacher-parent conference. 🙂
    It reminded me that I think that the so-called introvert vs extrovert dichotomy is false and misleading.
    The actual dichotomy is between two groups – one is those who only communicate with their personal friends and family. This is the instinctive human way of doing things. It is why cellphones and social media are so popular.
    The other group is those who discovered that Mark Twain – and other faraway people – were more interesting to listen to, than the boring nine year old sitting next to them.
    The first group gets all its information from friends and family – “Oh, Joanne just became a vegan, and thinks it really makes sense” “Really? That sounds good, maybe I should do it”. And you can tell those people until you are blue in the face “Just type your question into Google” and they will never do it – because they must get their information from friends and family.
    The second group has learned the weird modern practice of listening to people who are not present, and who don’t even know we exist (even if they are still alive). So, they can get information from better sources than their friend Joanne.
    Due to their life circumstances, some of the second group never sufficiently develop their socializing skill to enjoy talking to friends and family equally as much as listening to authors through books. These are the people whom some call “introverts”, but I don’t think there is any innate difference – just different circumstances.
    Probably the second group is just those who have had a positive book experience at the right time, and the first group is those who did not.

  31. I believe you completely. If you love books, you’re sure to make time for it. Anybody who tells you they haven’t got the time to read is really saying they don’t like books…period.

  32. Dr Mike.
    Very nice post: in the tradition of Elia’s “Christ’s Hospital Five-And-Thirty Years Ago”.
    I recognize similarities to my own upbringing & current habits in re: reading, tho’ I’m a mere vigintile , while you are a in a deci-centile!
    At age 8, Mother negotiated a special deal with the local public librarian for me to take out 6 books vs usual 2. These tended to be classics like “Coral Island”, Robin Hood stuff etc. tho’ I often took out big tomes such as Illustrated Children’s Enclyclopaedia. It was only by age 13, I was dipping into J Havelock Ellis. An uncle gave me a battered Joyce’ Ulysses at age 16.
    My current book collection, circa 5,000, is about 1/3 “novels”, 1/3 pop-hard-sci & pop-soft-“sci”(sociology), 1/3 history-biography. I also had a 30 year collection of Sci Am, but I threw these out post a divorce clutter clearance.
    Personally, I don’t “make time” for reading: it is my nurtured habituation. I “make time” for teevee.
    Here is the folk-song “Finnegan’s Wake”, which I fondly imagine would have been intoned by student James at the kind of soirées he wrote about in “The Dead”. Note the band’s name: The Dubliners.
    (Doncha luv the reviving qualities of Jamieson ?)

    1. PS Forgot to mention the reason for commenting:
      A1c3PO and “willet ever end”, which segways to
      “when will they ever learn”. Hah

    2. Though I’ve come to love Joyce as an adult, as a youth, I had to exposure to him. I read Ulysses because an English Lit prof I knew told me he thought I wouldn’t be able to get a lot out of it, so probably not worth my time reading. Which, of course, drove me to read it and prove him wrong. Ended up being one of the great literary experiences of my life.
      The Dead is just about my all time favorite short story. I’ve read the last 10 pages or so of The Dead at least 50 times. I still can’t believe Joyce was only 25 when he wrote it.
      Thanks for the link. As much as I love Joyce, I’ve never been able to make it through Finnegan’s Wake. Maybe I should try again.
      Thanks for writing.

  33. I love reading! I was always a big fun of physical books till I got a Kindle for Christmas last year. I really don’t know why I refused getting one for so long. I also travel a lot and it used to be a big hassle carrying all those books and choosing which one I should take. Now I can take 10 books with me and I can have all of them in my handbag.

  34. I am a massive lover of books (as the 5 bookcases in my study will testify) but having been given a tablet as a gift I have started to use the kindle application. One thing I do see as an advantage for the kindle over a book is the ease of accessing links to footnotes – just by pressing on the link you can go back and forward much faster than leafing through pages in a book and without losing your place.

  35. Thanks for the interesting notes about the public highlighting feature.
    By the way Micheal, it is possible to see the public highlight in the kindle website without buying the book, by searching the title in the kindle site and see one of the users highlight, and click on that user’s highlight date. Then click on show all the public highlights of the book and it will show the top 5 most popular highlight along wirh all the user’s public highlights.
    If you buy it, you can see the top 10most popular highlight inside the kindle desktop app as a list or any othe kindle app inside the pages of the book. But unfortunately it is limited to just the top 10 most popular highlights.
    I wished if i could see more especially for a very popular book that I bought with around 2000 highlighters for the tenth most popular passage.
    Although that Jeff enlighted me that they are not that important as I thought, but still interested to see more very popular highlights especially for such popular highlighters with thousands.
    If anybody can teach me how to see more than 10 most popular highlights , i will be grateful!

  36. I came across your blog whilst trying to find out a way to stop the finger swipe page-turn on Kindle. I am also an avid reader and love my Kindle. I am working to improve my reading speed on the Kindle. One technique to do so is the use of the finger to trace the lines, initially under each line, then as your eyes train trough a swipe down or across a page. This does not seem possible as my finger turns the page! I suppose I could use a pen/pencil. Thanks for your blog, I have subscribed.

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