How do you get yourself to read more books? Personally, I love reading, but it's hard to get off the internet when it's constantly being updated with new exciting stuff.. I'm really interested in how everybody deals with this.
You need to approach it the same way you should approach anything that requires a bit of uninterrupted concentration: unplug from the Internet and single-focus for 15-20 minutes at a time on reading. Then spend 10 minutes catching up on Designer News, Twitter, etc. Repeat the cycle a few times before taking a longer break.
I didn't force myself to read more books but I sort of stumbled upon doing it this past month. Maybe my experience can help you:
Bought a Kindle Paper and started using it to read before going to bed. The screen feels less harsh on my eyes, easier to fall asleep once I'm done with it or feel too tired to continue.
I have a Amazon Prime account, which I discovered gives you cool "perks" within the Kindle store. Perks like the Kindle First program which lets you read a book one month before it's published, free for Prime members, and the fact that prime members can borrow one book per month (for free). It's been a ~month and I've read(actually finished) 4 books up to now and I actually look forward to reading more each night.
Like Dafydd E. alluded to, you need to build up the ability of concentrating on reading one thing for a longer period of time(longer in comparison to how fast we usually consume content in the browser). Reading non-technical books has helped me immensely. Plus, I feel like longer pieces (books/novels/etc) need to incorporate a broader vocabulary, to avoid feeling repetitive or dull, and force me to learn new words, expressions, metaphors, which in turn help in breaking down concepts and ideas (sort of like, the more colors and shapes you know, the better you can describe a picture).
So just think of it as another way to expand your knowledge beyond your present interests. Online, we tend to gravitate towards things we know or like and so we end up following people(twitter, communities) with similar interests, and there's nothing wrong with that, but books can help in presenting uncommon and different ideas/scenarios/interests.
I have few tricks that I've evolved over the years.
I try and set aside 30m every day for reading. In fact we try and do this as a company. We have "Reading" on our company calendar 3:30-4pm every day. I may read more on any particular day, but I try and spend at least 30m every day.
I try (and sometimes fail - but trying helps) to limit myself to two books-in-progress at any one time. This stops me starting a bazzillion books and never finishing any of them.
I generally only buy a book at the point I will actually start reading it. E-books has made this much simpler. This helps with keeping (2).
We have a company reading-list on trello that we run in a kanban-ish style. Here's a picture of it today (hmm... I'm behind in my book reviewing ;-) Since we started doing this I also came across this post from Paul Eastabrook where he does something very similar.
Read books you love.
I've picked up books because I feel like I "should" read them. But to be honest, I don't want to read "lean ux of successful startups" or similar books. But I try to make myself because I think it will be good for me. To be honest, though, most of the time I'd rather read stuff totally unrelated to my field and when I get into a book I love, checking email, twitter, social notifications is never as good as a book i love.
Agreed. It always seems like a great goal to read more, but unless you're reading books that are interesting to you, it's going to take forever to get through and you'll procrastinate.
Now that I've hit upon the kinds of books I like to read, two things encourage me to read them more:
I like to carry a book around with me wherever I go so that if I have some free time, I can plop down on some grass and read outside for a while or chill at a bar by myself. Since I usually have a book on me, it offers me more opportunity to read.
When I am home, I try not to look at a screen for a while. It helps that I gave away my TV when I moved, so I end up reading a lot more than watching something or browsing the net. Getting rid of certain distractions at home helps a lot.
I know what you mean. That's why I love going on holiday. No internet just books and comics.