How Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Follow his four non-negotiable rules

Bill Gates reads a lot – you often get to see him recommending books on Twitter and his blog.

How does he read 50 books a year (i.e. 1 book a week)? Here are Bill Gates’ four non-negotiable rules he follows when reading any book.

1. Make notes in the margins.

“You know, when you’re reading, you have to be careful that you really are concentrating.
For me, taking notes helps make sure that I’m really thinking hard about what’s in there.

That is, what are you learning / what are you taking away from the books? How are you tracking it? You can’t do it tomorrow.

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2. Finish what you start.

Yes. Don’t start 2 books at the same time. I typically do a fiction and non-fiction to create a mix, but Bill Gates is totally against it.

3. Print or digital?

Gates is still reading ‘print’ books and he has a useful suggestion – choose the format as per your interest.
Don’t read print because Bill Gates is reading it. Don’t do Kindle because all your friends are using it. Figure out your mode and experiment.

4. Block out an hour. At least.

“This is not the kind of thing you can do five minutes here, 10 minutes there. Magazine articles or short YouTube videos fit into those little slots.”

Reading a serious book mandates dedicated time. Avoid those ‘read before sleep’ style, if you actually want to derive value from books.


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