Hobbies, Just Me (Maybe)

How did I start reading books as a hobby?

Way back in my school years, I really don’t enjoy reading books, unless it’s a comic book or a storybook of my interest with a lot of pictures on it.
I only read books as references like textbooks and encyclopedias wherein I just look in the Table of Contents then jump directly to the page where I can find what I need. I never had this experience of reading books cover to cover.

I made some attempts to read some books as influenced by my friends that are book lovers and to think that I might look cool and intellectual. But every time I do it, I get sleepy after a few pages, and after a few days, I lost interest. I also feel unmotivated whenever the total pages is above 200.

My no-love to book reading continues as I start working as a Software Engineer, then became a Project Manager in a multinational company. In the era when the internet is very accessible to almost everyone, there’s no need for me to buy any books at all. I can get the information I need with just a quick search on the internet (thanks to Google).

Then one day, one of the biggest decisions I made in my life, I quit my job at the company which I rendered almost a decade of my life. The company that hired me after college, the company where I experience a lot of first times, and the company where I met my wife. I started my own IT consultancy business with clients mostly in Australia and Singapore. The revenue is good despite being my first time. Thanks to my disappointment to the kind of customer service I get in any service providers here in the Philippines, and my experience of high-quality customer care in Japan, I put utmost importance on customer satisfaction whenever I work. This leads me to more customers without doing any marketing; purely on recommendations.

While browsing my social media accounts simply to entertain myself, I found some quotes of a certain person being shared by my social media connections that I found interesting. I look for more quotes from that same person, and I enjoyed it. That person’s quotes focus on how to be a good person in work, business, family, to everybody around you, how to be a good leader, and how to handle your finances. But that doesn’t make me buy one of his books to read, I’m contented with the free content I get from the internet.

Then after a year and a half doing business, I found that the revenue is going down, due to the completion of all of my major projects, and with only a few minor projects left ongoing that can only sustain my family’s daily expenses. That triggers me to look for a full-time job before money becomes a problem for my family. It landed me into a Scrum Master job in a start up company (thanks to my Professional Scrum Master certification and a decade of experience in software development and project management), and luckily, I can still continue my consultancy business on the side since our working hours is flexible, and there’s no conflict of interest.

A Scrum Master is not like a traditional Project Manager. Scrum Masters focuses on coaching and teaching the team to be agile, and help them with their impediments. In short, Scrum Masters are servant leaders. With my team mostly are newly graduates from college, and a few with experience (but not that much), it is a challenge for me to lead the team. Lacking experience means they still believe with their ideals that are based on what they read, and what they think are right. They haven’t experience a full cycle of software development. I think only one of my member has an experience, then the rest are fresh graduates, then the others worked on startup companies that doesn’t even able to release a product since the company failed at the very early stage.

Me, thinking of how I can be a good leader to them, and felt the need for me to guide this young people on their work and career, I remembered the person behind the quotes that I love reading. That person’s name is Francis Kong.

I visited a bookstore nearby then look for his book about leadership, then I found this:

The book is great. I learned a lot from it, and to my surprise, this is the first book that I’m able to read from cover to cover.

For me and in my situation during that time, it’s the best book to start with. Interesting content, amazing author with awesome writing skill, relatable and realistic topics, only around 150+ pages (not overwhelming for lazy readers like me), and the book is very affordable. This is the book where I start to crave more.

It’s Christmas season, my brother asked me of what gift I want, then I told him “any book by Francis Kong except the Leadership that Matters since I already have it”. Then he gave this to me on the Christmas eve:

Also a great book with 250+ pages, that’s 100 pages more, hehehe! But to be honest, it took me some time to finish this book because I found some of the topics/contents the same with the first book I read. There are times that I lose the interest to pickup the book to continue reading. But I made it! It is still a good book to read though.

Then I start looking for books from the other authors. Below are my new books to read:

I’m already halfway with the Atomic Habits. A very very good book to read. I highly recommend this to those who wants to break their bad habits and build the good ones. Actually, it is because of this book that I started this blog. I want to be a good writer someday, that’s why I changed my identity that I am a writer. With my blog site, I can do my writings here for public consumption for me to be able to receive feedback from you as a reader, then improve more with my writings.

To summarize, what makes me start reading books are as follows:

  • The need to learn. With the beginner’s mindset; there’s a lot that I need to learn.
  • A good author/writer, with an effective way of writing to keep the reader interested.
  • Book contents that interests me and I found useful in some aspects (if not all) of my life.
  • Hard copy availability. I prefer the actual book as compared to the digital copy. I’m already working the whole day in front of my laptop, so reading an actual book makes me more comfortable, and prevents my eyes to too much screen exposure.

My tip to those who struggle to start like me, pick a book that interests you or with content that might help you with your current situation. If you’re a lazy reader, start with books that have few pages, less than 200 pages. Then pick a book from the author you like. If you don’t have a specific author in mind, authors from the New York Times Bestsellers books are most of the time are very good authors.

If you can’t pick a book, you can start with Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s a little over 200 pages, but the content is very good. Also, the content is for everyone regardless of their profession and status.

I hope this helps you start reading books as a hobby. Happy reading 🙂