How I Read 50 Biographies a Year

I used to crack open a 1000 page biography and read it cover to cover.

How I Read 50 Biographies a Year
Photo by Blaz Photo 

How do I read 50 biographies a year?

I cheat.

I used to crack open a 1000 page biography and read it cover to cover. After doing that many times, I realized that 80% of the lessons I learned were in the first 20% of the book. Virtually all of the benefits of reading a biography come from the early childhood and "apprentice phase" chapters. The early childhood chapters give you context and often allow you to relate to the subject of the biography. The apprenticeship phase shows you the inputs that led to their success. There are a lot of common practices that virtually all successful people do in the apprenticeship phase.

When should I read cover to cover?

There are some biographies that are so captivating that you naturally keep reading, like Titan by Ron Chernow or Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. You’ll know when you’ve found a biography you should keep reading because you won’t want to stop reading.

Common practices of successful people:

  1. They read a lot.
  2. They master a skill (like reading, writing, speaking, networking, coding, and data science).
  3. They develop persuasion skills.
  4. They start a business or invest.