Read More Warrior

On a quest to search for the 50 most life-changing books

Hello there! Ready to Devour some Books?

Hi, I am Quinten Voordeckers and I want to present you to the Read More Warrior. I am just his noble assistant. The Read More Warrior told me that he wants YOU to read more books. “Why?” you might ask. Well, he is convinced that reading books is the easiest way to ensure Lifelong Learning. He is on a journey to find the 50 most life-changing books. So if you don’t know which books to read, I recommend you start with the books on his 50-Book Project list. If you want to stay updated about how to read more books or if you want to read some thoughts about certain books, I will guide you to my blog, just scroll down!

Latest Posts

Book 4: Social Media, Neck Pain & Bird Shit

A little story

Once upon a time, there was a young warrior. Every day, in the afternoon his neck and lower back began to hurt. “Why is this?”, he wondered. One day he started to do some exercises to improve his posture. That helped, but it didn’t feel like solving the root of the problem. What was causing this bad posture?

Another day he went walking with two of his friends. He saw a tall building on which there were a lot of pigeons shitting on it. You could see white lines of bird shit from far away. The warrior asked his friends while pointing to the tall building, “Am I wrong, or do pigeons always seem to shit on the tallest buildings?”. His friends had a surprised look on their faces, and answered, “I haven’t even noticed that tall building before”

One day sitting in a bus, he observed that everyone was crouching over their phone, staring at their screens like they were in another universe. He felt lonely because of this, and he also felt scared, scared of being bored. So he reached for his phone, and the phone suited his discomfort. However, his back and neck started to hurt again and he didn’t notice all the tall buildings outside with bird shit on them.

While scrolling on his phone, he saw a post about a book called “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport. “That’s ironic”, he thought “a book about digital minimalism, which reaches me through my phone”

The Book

“We have gone from looking up and around to constantly looking down.”

Andrew Sullivan (I used to be a human being)

Of all the books I’ve read, this book had by far the most impact on my life. That’s also why I’ve referenced the book so often in previous posts. For me, the main benefit of this book was that suddenly I had way more time at my disposal and my attention span increased. Friends of mine who also read the book and did the 30-day challenge (about which later) experienced also another benefit: they felt less stressed.

Because of the title and of the recent hype about “digital detoxing”, you would expect that this book is a manifesto against technology. It is in a certain way, but the key message of the book is something different. Or at least, it was something that I didn’t expect.

Cal Newport doesn’t want you to abolish all your new technologies. No, he wants you to use new technologies like smartphones, social media, mail, but only when it serves your goal. He wants you to become a better person because of technology while trying to avoid being enslaved by these addictive technologies.

But how do you do that? Cal Newport has found a highly effective way in which you first perform a digital clean-up called the 30-day challenge, in which you abandon as much of your digital technologies as possible. After that period, you can reintroduce the technologies which meet the following requirements: They serve your goal AND are also the most effective method to accomplish your goal.

You might ask, “Why do we need to clean up before we reintroduce? Isn’t this additional step needless? Couldn’t we just remove the unnecessary technologies from the beginning?” but that would be a mistake, because of loss aversion. I’ll give you the following personal example. I thought before the 30-day challenge that YouTube was essential to me, so I would never see it as unnecessary and certainly wouldn’t remove it. The only thing that convinced me to remove YouTube was the 30-day challenge. However, I was certain that when the 30-day challenge was over, I would use YouTube again. 30 days passed and I realized that YouTube wasn’t essential to me. This is a clear example of loss aversion in action.

What now?

Hopefully, you now feel the momentum to make a change. Don’t waste this momentum. Act. Rebel against the enslavement of people by technology. Remember: You can use technology, but don’t let it use you! (more information in my previous post). I encourage you to perform the “Your Turn” (see below) of this post. But before that, here are three small things you can do right now to start the ball rolling:

Your Turn

Buy or borrow the book “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport. Read it. Do the 30-day challenge. Change your life.

We need to talk about our spare time

A little personal story

I loved YouTube. I don’t know if I love it anymore. I think I don’t. In the majority of the previous three years, a significant part of my leisure existed of watching YouTube. The videos I watched, ranged from Kurzgesagt to Ali Abdaal. These infotainment videos contained a lot of information that I could learn from. While watching these videos, I felt proud of myself, “Look at me, watching all these information-dense videos. I know a lot now, and because of that, I must be a wise person”. 

When I look back at it, I realize that all these videos were just giving me the feeling that I was learning something. The rate of new information was just way too high to learn something from it. And because the information was very shallow, not much of it was retained. Something needed to change.

I came across the book “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport which made me reframe how I spent my leisure. Because of this book, I’ve only used Youtube for ukulele lessons over the previous six months. Well, that’s not completely true, I recently gave the infotainment YouTubers another try. Just three minutes later I realized that quitting YouTube, was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

From reading this book and applying the principles, I learned more than three years of watching YouTube.

The Basics VS The Digitals

In my opinion, the best leisure is both productive and energizing. I’m convinced that most of us don’t use our spare time in this way. I would lie if I would say that I use my spare time always productively and energizingly. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to strive for this ideal.

Our surrounding is very dynamic nowadays and there are a lot of things that are calling for our attention. As a result, it is difficult to make a conscious decision about what we do with our free time. I like to divide the things we do in our spare time into two groups: The Basics and The Digitals.

The Basics

Reading a book


Listening & playing music

Moving your body


Real-life social interactions

The Digitals

Social Media




Texting and mail

Because Digitals are often better at catching our attention than The Basics, there is a tendency towards a more technological use of our spare time. This tendency needs to be put on hold, in my opinion. This can be achieved by making The Basics cool again. In this blog, my emphasis is on reading so I will try to make reading as cool as possible.

Making The Basics Cool Again

The Basics have three advantages over The Digitals:

  1. They are more productive
  2. They are better at energizing us
  3. They are less addictive

You might object, “The Digitals are everywhere and they are very important for our everyday life. It would be a mistake to stop using them.” As a disclaimer, I would like to say that I’m not for the complete abolishment of The Digitals in our spare time. I agree with Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism” in which he promotes the critical use of The Digitals. This means that we only use The Digitals when they serve our goals AND are the best way to achieve them.

We can use The Digitals as a support for The Basics and by doing this, we simultaneously make The Basics cool again. Here are some examples:

Example 1:

Let’s say our goal is to improve our writing. What we can do is read more in our spare time. When we read a lot, we will be exposed to many interesting ideas. Now we have more things to write about. We can also share our written ideas on social media or our blog. By using these Digitals we can get real-world feedback that improves our writing, which is our goal.

Example 2:

Let’s say our goal is to learn a new skill like drawing, cooking, or juggling. We can buy books which give us step for step explanations about what we need to do to learn these skills. On the other hand, Youtube has a lot of videos that visually show the specific skill. The videos are also faster, easier, and cheaper to get. By using Youtube, we learn a new skill, which is our goal.

Example 3:

Let’s say our goal is to improve our social life. We can go to more events, dare to say hi to strangers, or even just ask more questions. Spending less time on our phones, and having more real-life interaction with our friends, lovers, or family members deepens our relationship with them. Nevertheless, calling or texting can be used to arrange these rendezvous. By using texting to arrange a rendezvous, we improve our social life, which is our goal.

Your Turn

Open your phone. Go to the screen time/digital balance section in the settings. Normally, you can see there how much time you’ve spent on each app that day and the days before. You can also see how many times you’ve opened your phone. If that isn’t a shocking enough experience on its own, try to remember the information you’ve seen in that time especially for apps like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or even your browser. Do you remember anything from it? I didn’t.

Book 3: Resistance, Dragons & A Compas

A Little story

Once upon a time, there was a young warrior. Every day he woke up, ate breakfast, brushed his teeth, and started with his day. One specific morning he felt like starting to read a book. His eye fell on the dark blue book he had bought recently. When he took it from the shelf and saw that it counted 500 pages he remembered why he hadn’t started it yet. He was scared like hell of reading it. “Well, that’s going to require too much effort, I’m just going to watch some TV instead,” he thought. When he put the book back on the shelf he felt the air that was displaced, brushing against his face. Or was it?

After lunchtime, he really needed to write something for his blog. He opened his computer, but before opening his word document, he thought, “Well, I can check social media for a minute before I start writing.” After scrolling on Facebook for 5 minutes he went onto Instagram, LinkedIn,… suddenly 30 minutes had passed! He felt guilty because now he had no time anymore to write during his lunch break. He still needed to check his mailbox though, there was still time enough for that. He opened his mailbox, but there were no new emails. There was only one weird mail in his spam box which contained the following message, “I await your urgent response, why didn’t you pay for the reptile scales that I’ve sent you?” This mail was sent by a certain Mrs.Therese Nina. Or was it?

In the evening he felt like going for a run, but his sports socks were still dirty. He wanted to go so badly, so he washed them by hand, put them in the drying machine, and started ironing them. While he was ironing, suddenly someone rang the doorbell. It was his friend who lived in the neighborhood and asked him if he wanted to get some drinks at the local pub. “Alright then,” he said, “no running tonight.” His friend asked him why he smelled fire in the house. Oh no, he had forgotten to take the iron of the socks, and now the whole house was smelling like burned socks! Or was it?

After a lot of drinks, he went back to his house and fell asleep. He dreamed about standing in front of a cave. He was scared of the cave, but somehow his legs forced him to go inside. When he went inside he immediately smelt burned socks. A few steps further he saw a shiny object on the ground. When he picked it up, he realized it was a reptile scale. He suddenly noticed that there were a lot of them scattered around the floor of the cave. All he wanted to do was scream and escape from this scary cave as soon as possible. But his legs magically kept moving him deeper into the cave until he felt some displaced air, brush against his face. He froze, it was the same feeling he had earlier that day. He wondered where it came from. All of a sudden he saw where it came from.

A DRAGON! This colossal monster strangely enough could speak. “What’s your name, you filthy mortal?” asked the dragon. The warrior replied with a cracking voice, “I’m the Read More Warrior”. The dragon started to chuckle: “Do you know who I am? My name is Resistance, and I’m going to eat you alive.” Before the warrior could even move one step, the dragon launched at him and he felt the sharp teeth of Resistance penetrating his skin.

He woke up with sweat dripping on his forehead. After a few minutes, he realized it was just a nightmare and tried to relax. Until he saw a book laying on his nightstand which was called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. When he opened the book there was a little note in it:

The Battle: Resistance vS Warrior

Our life is in an infinite battle. Every day we have to fight Resistance to converge the life we’re living, and the unlived life within us. Resistance is the force within us that stops us from achieving great things. Resistance can assume many forms. It sounds very spiritual, I know. I’m not a spiritual person, to be honest, and some parts of the book were way too spiritual for me. But this way of thinking helps me a lot somehow, so I thought it might help you too. This book is for everyone who is pursuing something in his/her life which requires delayed gratification. And I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that everyone who is reading this, is doing that already.

The Weapons of Resistance

1. Fear

We experience the presence of Resistance often as fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of throwing away education, and fear of poverty are a few in the list that Steven Pressfield enumerates in his book. However, Steven Pressfield says further, our biggest fear is Fear That We Will Succeed. Fear is the least pleasant emotion to feel, but we can use it to our advantage, as we will see in “The weapons of the Read More Warrior” part.

2. Rationalization

Let’s say for example that you want to get fit. You might experience fear towards pursuing a healthy body. However, don’t forget that Resistance also has other weapons in its arsenal. Resistance will start to rationalize your avoiding behavior. “It’s raining, I can’t go for a run today”, “I’ve no time today to exercise”, “I’m going to sweat and then I have to take a shower”, “In three days I’m going to swim together with my friend, so I don’t have to sport today” are some examples of these rationalizations.

“What’s particularly insidious about the rationalizations that Resistance presents to us is that a lot of them are true.”

Steven Pressfield

Don’t judge rationalizations on their truthfulness. Often you can just ignore them or find an easy solution if you would want to. You could use a raincoat while running, or even just enjoy the feeling of the dripping rain on your skin. You could make time for exercising. The fact that you will swim in a few days, doesn’t mean that it’s illegal to exercise today.

3. Procrastination

Procrastination is the sliest method that Resistance can use against us. When you’re dreaming about learning a new language like Spanish, we don’t say, “I’m never going to learn Spanish.” Instead, we say, “I’m going to learn Spanish tomorrow.” The latter is way easier to believe and now we’ve fallen into the trap of procrastination. The Warrior can only do one thing against procrastination, which is starting now. This brings us to the weapons of the Warrior.

The Weapons of the Warrior

1. Starting now

If you know already what you want to do, and you know that you should start, stop reading this blog. Turn down your computer/smartphone or whatever you’re reading this blogpost on and just START. Take for example reading. Starting is the most difficult part of reading. But, remember that stopping with reading is the second most difficult. This is also true for many other activities like writing, exercising, and playing an instrument.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”

W.H. Murray

2. Consistency

If we’ve slain Resistance today, it doesn’t mean that Resistance is dead forever. Resistance will reincarnate like a phoenix and will battle us again the next day. Because Resistance is so consistent, we have to be consistent too. Applying this into practice often takes the form of trying to read, write, exercise, cook, or whatever you’re pursuing, every day. In other words, we need to make Atomic Habits out of them.

“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”

Steven Pressfield

3. Using Resistance as our Compass

Resistance is our enemy in many ways, but don’t forget that we can use Resistance to our advantage. This dragon will show up when we try an activity that requires delayed gratification, but not for mundane activities which give us instant gratification like watching TV, scrolling on social media, or buying things for the sake of buying things. Steven Pressfield puts it like this in his book:

“Rule of thumb; The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

Steven Pressfield

Because of this, we can use Resistance as our compass in life. A lot of us don’t exactly know what we want to achieve in life. When you experience Resistance while pursuing something, it indicates that it is important for you and it might be worth it to face your fear and pursue it anyway.

“Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got

Steven Pressfield

Your Turn

Give Resistance an uppercut by starting today. In the previous post I gave you a choice, this week I won’t.

How to remember what you’ve read

Neurons that fire together wire together

Donald O. Hebb

This biological fact will be the starting point for this post about remembering. Remembering more of what you’ve read is actually very simple. Higher Engagement = More Remembering. Additionally, we want to engage in various ways. Why do we want to do that? Well, I like to see how learning and remembering work in our brain, like this:

See the book you’ve just read as this one line on a plane. This plane is our brain. In this case, the line is very lonely and doesn’t get visited by Attention, the nourisher, who seems to be wandering around randomly. Even when Attention comes close to the line, it just steps over it. This line is destined to fade away over time, purely out of loneliness. Who would not want to fade away when it gets ignored that much?

We need to give our line some friends. These friends will form interesting intersections with our line. These other lines can assume many forms: other related books, drawings, habits,… What will happen now is that Attention will find one of the lines, hop on it, and walks over the line like on a tightrope. Attention gets really excited when it sees an intersection. It will hop enthusiastically onto the next line and will follow that line until there is a new intersection. Chances are one of these lines will be the book we’ve read.

Now that our book gets visited by Attention it gets nourished and will form stronger connections with the other lines. Because of that, we will remember what we’ve read way easier and it will come to us spontaneously when we need it.

Here are some ways to construct these helper-lines:


How can we use drawing to remember our books? First of all, we can doodle in our book. When you envisage something very vividly while reading, try to sketch what you imagine on the sidelines. It’s often easier to bring a drawing before our mind’s eye than a piece of text, even though both contain the same information. See it for yourself: What is easier to recall: The above drawing of the lines or the text which explains it? Drawing is also very fun to do, even if you aren’t proud of your drawing skills.

Mind map

Secondly, you can try to make a visual summary of the book after you’ve read it. I especially like this in the format of a Mind Map (you can find an example in my post about Show Your Work). There are many great sources out there why Mind Maps are so interesting and how you can do it (my source Tony Buzan’s Use Your Head), so I won’t go too much into detail here.

Do it!

Take action. Apply the concepts of the book. Experiment. This might be very straightforward for practical books because they guide you step by step on what you need to do. For more abstract books it might be trickier, but I’ll leave it to you to be creative with it.

To give a personal example. A while ago I’ve read the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport which gives very practical advice on how to use technology like social media, mail, laptops, and smartphones. Applying the concepts of the book in my daily life was not that easy, but it had a profound impact on my life. I can guarantee you that I’ll never forget that book.

Talk about it

When you’ve finished a book, try to think of at least one person who might benefit from reading this book and then recommend it to that person. When the person will read it too and talk with you about it, you’ll make a lot of helper-lines in your brain. You’ve probably also helped that person, or at least challenged their current ideas.

Your Turn

I’ll be generous this time and give you a choice: Do or Draw? Apply the concepts of the last book you’ve read to your own life. If it is impossible for some reason, try to visualize the concept by making a drawing.

Book 2: Values, Boats & Cake

A Little Story

Once upon a time, there was a young warrior. Every day he worked on his blog. He had made this blog because he wanted to share his ideas with the world. After the three first posts, he thought by himself: “Well, what am I writing about?”. It was a complex question. He wanted to share his ideas, but did he want to share all his ideas? No, of course not, then he would turn into a human spam and Austin Kleon had learned him not to turn into a human spam. But how would he know what to share and what not?


“Maybe start with stating some key values for the blog,” said a voice in the back of his head. “Great idea! Thank you, voice in the back of my head!” said the Read More Warrior out loud. Suddenly he stumbled upon a beautiful book. He took it from the shelf, turned the front cover to his face, and read the title: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy.

The 3 Key Values

1. Curiosity

Everything starts with Curiosity. For me, the boy in the book symbolizes Curiosity. As a child, we all are infinitely curious. Everyone goes through a phase in which they will ask their parents over and over “Why?”. I think we can all benefit from staying with one foot in this Why-phase. Keep asking these Why-questions. Try to get as close to the truth as possible. Talk with people. Listen actively. Experiment. Read. Write. Share your ideas. Share them clearly and creatively.

The observant reader noticed I wrote “with one foot” in the previous paragraph. What about the other foot? Well, I think Curiosity is a good thing although if you only keep asking questions like: “Why do I want to read more books?”, “Why can’t I have my creative ideas at a time I don’t have to sleep?” or “Why do I have a hole in my sock?” you would stay in a kind of passive mindset. But when you use your other foot (with a hole in its sock) to ask “How” questions like “How do I read more books?” “How can I use my creative ideas?” or “How can I fix my sock?” you will be one step closer to an active mindset that will keep you going.

2. Honesty

To be honest, I often
feel I have nothing interesting to say.” said the fox.

“Being honest is
always interesting.” said the horse.

Charlie Mackesy

In my opinion, this is the most brilliant quote in the book. For me, the fox symbolizes Honesty in this book. Letting a fox make such an honest statement is very cleverly done by Mackesy. Just think about the expression “As sly as a fox”. My mind was blown when I realized that.

To break the ice, I will start by telling you something. I honestly thought that the writer was a woman. Both men and women can have the name, Charlie. Somehow when I read the book and saw the beautiful drawings combined with the very vulnerable writing style, I convinced myself that Charlie Mackesy was a woman. A visit to his website proved the opposite.

Why is telling the truth so important? When you’re honest with people, you can form a far deeper bond with them. I’m certainly not the only one who thinks Honesty is important: the eighth rule of Jordan Peterson’s book 12 rules for life is “Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie” and Sam Harris has written a book called Lying about why you shouldn’t lie. I cannot explain it any clearer than Harris does in his book:

“By lying, we deny our friends access to reality – and their resulting ignorance often harms them in ways we did not anticipate.”

Sam Harris

3. Courage

I’ve spent much more time thinking about this third value, than the other two. I first thought that it needed to be gratefulness. Somehow I couldn’t find myself writing anything about gratefulness, although it’s important to me. So I thought “Maybe there is another value that is more important and is blocking my writing in some way”. Then the invisible blockade showed itself suddenly the value Courage.

For me, the horse symbolizes Courage in this book. Why is Courage so important? Why did I first think that gratefulness was more important? When you are grateful for someone, it often takes Courage to say it to that person. It might be the reason why I first thought that gratefulness was important. But Courage is also important for other things. Asking for help when you need it requires Courage. Being honest even when you think that a small white lie will make everything easier, requires Courage. When you go on a curious adventure to challenge your own beliefs, you need Courage.

I like to see it in this way. I don’t see myself as particularly courageous, but I try to act courageously whenever possible. My best friend says it best:

“Often all you need
is just 5 seconds of courage to start a chain of good things”

My Best Friend

Like asking your crush on a date, reaching out to your greatest example, or signing a contract that will force you to read more.

Extra: Have Fun in the Process

When you keep the three above values at the front of your head, keep some space at the back of your head for a fourth smaller, but not less important value: “Have fun in the process” For me, the mole and his cake symbolize this value. I even laughed out loud once while I read a page about this mole and his obsession with cake. I had never laughed out loud while reading a book before.

Having fun in the process by making some jokes or taking yourself not too seriously will elevate all the other values and makes them also easier. 

“A rising tide lifts all boats”

John F. Kennedy

I don’t mean this in the typical economic sense but see “the rising tide” as “Have fun in the process” and “all boats” as the three values Curiosity, Honesty, and Courage.  

Your Turn

Think about your own key values. Write them down somewhere where you see them often. It’s okay if you steal one or multiple of the above.

5 reasons why you should read more books


This blog is all about reading more books. The Read More Warrior wants you to read more books and he will do anything in his power to help you with HOW to read more books. Nevertheless, it is first important to know WHY you would want to read more books. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This blog focuses mostly on non-fiction books, but some of the same principles will also apply to fiction books.

1. Books can change your life

From my experience books can really change your life. You have probably heard these words “change your life” a lot these days from self-improvement gurus. They use it often as clickbait and I confess that I’ve used it also here in this blog post. Nevertheless, there is some truth in it. I can honestly say that several books changed my life, in small and big ways. In this blog, I’ll share with you how different books impacted my life.

2. Books are the perfect mentors

I often have the feeling that I miss some kind of mentor in my life. When I hear stories about the relationship between apprentice and mentor like Alexander the Great and Aristotle, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud or Ryan Holiday and Robert Greene, I have to confess I feel some jealousy. If you’re like me and you want a mentor but you can’t seem to find one, read books. You can see the books you read as your mentors. When you apply the concepts that you read in books, you learn from the experiences of the writer.

3. Reading books is a productive kind of leisure

I’ve always had a craving for more information. Curiosity is a very important human trait, but I’m convinced that I used it the wrong way for a long time. My leisure consisted mostly of checking social media, reading magazines, and watching YouTube. These triggered my curiosity very much because there was a continuous supply of new, attractive information. On the contrary reading books seemed like work that required a lot of effort.


The problem with social media, magazines, and YouTube is that there is often little depth in the information. Because of that, I forgot like 99% of what I had read or watched while feeling that I was learning something. Books form a solution because they often go very detailed into one specific topic. You can see them as the “specialists” of the information world. Social media, magazines, and YouTube on the other hand can be seen as the “generalists” of the information world. Because books are specialized and have a lot of stories to back up the same concept or argument, the central message is in my opinion unforgettable. A book called Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport helped me to make this transition from watching Youtube to reading books

4. Books help with choosing a gift

When you become known in your inner circle as someone who reads a lot of books, it will be very easy for others and for you to choose a gift. Just ask them the give you a book! I always have a list of books that I would like to read and when someone asks me what I want for Christmas (All I want for Christmas is youuuuuuu babyyyy 😉) or my birthday I will send them this list.


It also works the other way around. When you read a lot of books you’ll often have the feeling: “This book would be perfect for my sister/friend/dad/….” Now you know what you will give them as a present for Christmas, their birthday or just randomly because you like them.

5. When there’s a natural disaster you at least have something to keep warm

One of the few scenes of the film “The Day After Tomorrow” by Roland Emmerich which I can remember is the one in which they decide to burn the books of the library to keep warm. Please keep your good books and only burn the bad ones. I’m not responsible for any damage! And if you only read on your e-reader, well you might have cold toes during a natural disaster.

Your Turn

Think of your own reason to read more books. Write it down clearly and beautifully on a small card which you can place on your nightstand, or close to your reading chair. It can also act as your cue for your reading habit. For more information on habits, read the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.

Book 1: Ideas, Blogs & Self-Realization

A Little Story

Once upon a time, there was a young warrior. Every night laying in his bed, a stream of interesting ideas flushed through his mind. At first, he thought: “Well this is annoying, I can’t sleep because of this.” But after a while, he realized that writing down the thoughts helped. It helped because the ideas were permanently written down so they could not be forgotten. Because of that, there was no need to worry anymore. Now, he could go to bed peacefully.

After a while, the warrior had a big pile of ideas. Then the apparent question emerged: “What should I do with these ideas?” After a few days of thinking, he got the answer: “I will read more books to have more ideas! Maybe these new ideas will challenge my current ideas, but that’s okay, all I want is more ideas”. And so it happened. From then on he called himself the “Read More Warrior”. Reading book after book, the ideas piled up to fill his whole nightstand. The next victim was his desk and eventually, even his whole bedroom was filled with ideas. When people came over to his house and saw the pile they asked: “What are you going to do with all these ideas?” and the warrior responded: “No idea”.


One day a visitor gave him some wise advice “Maybe you should stop hoarding these ideas in your comfortable little room and send them into the world. How would you otherwise know if these ideas are any good?” Motivated by this conversation he bought a domain name to make his own blog, but realized quickly that it was not what he wanted to do. “Blogs are for people who are crying for attention and I don’t want to be one of them!” He thought. His plan from then on: “I will talk about my ideas in real life.”


This plan worked well, he joined a book club and talked with friends about the books he read. But after a while, he stumbled on a book called “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon.




The Book

The book is built around 10 rules:

1. You don’t have to be a genius

2. Think process, not product

3. Share something small every day

4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities

5. Tell good stories

6. Teach what you know

7. Don’t turn into human spam

8. Learn to take a punch

9. Sell out

10. Stick around

Which I’ve also shown graphically in the following mind map

There were three rules that really resonated with me, which are underlined above. In the chapter Share something small every day Austin Kleon promotes having your own blog. Use it as a tool for self-realization and not for self-promotion. When it seems like this blog is becoming too self-promotional, please let me know. 😉

In the chapter Open up your cabinet of curiosities he states that you should ALWAYS acknowledge the people from who you got these ideas. For this reason, you will often find a lot of links to other sources in my blogs. 

And last but not least, the most important rule in my opinion: Teach what you know. It’s the smallest chapter of this book. Austin Kleon says here that when you are learning something it can be a good idea to share your learning journey and help others to do the same. So by teaching what you learn, you learn it better in the first place. Also, even more important, you can get feedback from the people you taught. And from that, you can learn something which you can also teach to others and this will form an endless feedback loop. And that’s the reason why I made this blog.

Your turn

Share something you’ve learned or made recently. This can be anything, ranging from how you are learning to play a music instrument to how you organize your daily life. Share it with a friend, or to the bigger public online. 

3 tips to read more books

My New Year resolution every year:

“I want to read more books!”

And I’m certainly not the only one because it’s one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions in the world. Many students, entrepreneurs, and employees want to read more but can’t find the motivation or time to do so. Therefore, the primary purpose of this blog is to increase the number of people who are happy with the number of books they read a year.

Until 1.5 years ago, I was only reading 2 or 3 books a year. Some years even zero. I haven’t pinpointed one reason for this, but I think it was a combination of multiple things. When the COVID-19 epidemic started I saw it as an opportunity to read more books. Sort of like a COVID resolution. It worked. I finished 25 books in 1.5 years. That’s almost 14 books a year. You’ll certainly find book gurus who read a lot more than that, but hey, it’s about progress not about a number.

“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today”

This is a quote from the book “12 rules for life” by Jordan Peterson (I certainly recommend it). With that in mind, I guarantee you that after reading this blog, you’ll read more. Without further ado here are 3 tips to help you put that number of books in the elevator.

1. Get yourself an EMPTY bookshelf

Most people use their bookshelf to show off with books they haven’t read. “Look at me how smart I am because I read a lot of books”. This bookshelf will be different. It won’t let you show off that easily. From now on, you may only put the books on it that you’ve finished. Put the other’s you haven’t finished yet somewhere you don’t want your books placed. For example in a closet, under a bed, or in your shower (just kidding). Do it now if you can, otherwise, you’ll probably forget it.

In that way, you have a PUSH-factor (the ugly place) and a PULL-factor (the empty bookshelf). So, you have 2 physical reminders to read more. Stop being an “I-Show-Off-With-Books-I-Haven’t-Read” kinda person and be honest with yourself. You’ll be more proud of your s(h)elf.

Extra: If your bookshelf is filled to the point of satisfaction, maybe it’s time to empty it again. Then you can let the PUSH & PULL factors do their magic another time.

2. Read one page every day

Reading (at least) one page each day was for me the most effective way to read more. It’s an example of a microhabit. A microhabit is something you do every day, but just a little of it. This concept was popularised by the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (I still have to read that one). By keeping it small, there’s a high chance that you can do it every day. One page takes for the average reader one minute. Everyone can set one minute aside each day to read one page. I do this just before I go to bed. When I’m really tired it will probably be no more than that one page. However most days I realize that the book is genuinely interesting and I finish the chapter.

Even if you would only do the bare minimum of one page each day, which I don’t believe, you’ll still read 365 pages a year. That’s one book. More than most people do!

Extra: You can raise the one page to more pages to ensure that you’ll read even more. Although, be careful of raising it too much because even two pages sound more challenging than one. Subconscientiously it may lead to days you don’t read. We want to avoid that.

3. Try different forms of reading of

These days, there are a lot of different ways to read a book. You can read a physical book, read on your e-reader or smartphone and even listen to audiobooks (which you technically can’t call “reading”, but for me, it counts as reading). Experiment with these different forms and try to find which works best for you. For me, it is a combination of physical books and e-books.

Extra: Borrow physical books and e-books from your library. This is a very cheap way to get in touch with more books. You’ll also feel less disappointed when you won’t finish a book.

These are, in my opinion, the 3 most effective ways to read more books. I’m sure they’ll help you. I’ve also a lot of other tips in mind, but those will be for another post.