A couple of nights ago I finished “Grant,” a weighty biography by Ron Chernow that I have written about previously (here and here). I finished it much as I started it: satisfied and appreciative, and grateful to have a fine read in front of me.
The thing about it is the fact that the main text of the book is nearly 1000 pages (with end notes and index, it is nearly 1100 pages). This most likely qualifies as the longest biography I have ever read! Yet I found the “Grant” biography so enjoyable, and so effortless to gulp up, that I happily and easily followed my simple reading plan to read 125-150 pages per week, finishing the book in seven weeks.
As I noted with the Buffett biography I read previously, I hardly consider this a Herculean reading pace: it amounted to 25-30 pages a day, 5 days a week. It is, however, more reading than the average adult does, especially an adult who isn’t working in a University or somehow has reading as part of their job or career.
Yet none of this really matters. What matters is how much I enjoyed reading this book. I was satisfied as I read. By and large I was quite engaged, and quite interested in following along with the narrative. Plus, I was frequently moved by Grant’s personality and actions, and the story kept my interest from his childhood and pre-Civil War struggles to his final year.
Today, as I talked to my wife about how much I was enjoying my reading, she remarked on how great it was to hear me talk this way, correctly pointing out that I used to force myself to read things even when I didn’t really want to. Of course, this has all changed. As evidenced by my reading experience of this book, I am now solidly on the side of reading things that I actually want to read!
Also, it is perhaps a little ironic, and kind of cool, that, now that my attitude has changed so much, the last two books I have read were bigger and longer than most of the books I have ever read. I get a feeling of accomplishment at this… yet let me say again, it wouldn’t mean much anymore if I didn’t also enjoy what I was reading!
This is but another example of the value of finding what truly makes one satisfied and honoring that!
I strongly recommend that you try this in your life, if you haven’t already. You will be pleasantly surprised!