Three More Habits of Highly Effective Readers

A few weeks ago, I wrote about three habits of highly effective readers -- habits that made readers look like good people, well adjusted people. I think that this view of readers is common, but the truth is that we have some pretty bad habits as well, habits we cultivate because of our obsession -- books.

1. Highly effective readers are slothful.

We don’t look like we’re slothful, do we? To the outside world, it looks like we’re always engaged in bettering ourselves, making sure that we’re getting smarter, furthering our education. And that’s all true, but it’s also true that we’re not reading for any of those reasons. We read because it’s fun for us.

I’m often faced with a friend or student who is overly impressed with how much I read. The person says something to the effect of, “Man I can’t believe how much time you put into that. I really admire that.”

Why disabuse those people of that idea. If you’re like me, you’ll just nod wisely and keep your mouth shut.

2. Highly effective readers are rude.

We read at the dinner table. We read during high school graduations. We read at social functions. We put on audiobooks in the car instead of what our friends want to hear. We read during coffee breaks at work instead of listening to the latest office gossip. Is Tom having an affair with Nancy in HR? Who cares? Scarlett is marrying Rhett down at the library.

On top of everything else, we’re thinking about Rhett and Scarlett as we’re doing dishes and laundry and going about our otherwise mundane lives. When you come up to us and talk to us and see that rather glazed look on our face, don’t be fooled. We’re not paying attention. We’d like to pay attention. That’d be nice. We just don’t have it in us.

3. Highly effective readers are gluttonous.

Maybe this is just me, but the only thing that goes better with a book than tea is tea and a sleeve of Fig Newtons. And the moment I’ve lost myself in a book, I tend to forget everything else including the fact that I’ve just eaten the first sleeve. And the package comes with two sleeves. Ah, well.

And let’s face it. When given the choice of finding out what happens to Rhett and Scarlett and going down to the gym where you can’t really focus well on the book you just started, the gym generally loses out.