Reading advice from Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen has easily risen to to the top of my "thinkers I like" list. There's probably no one else I know of today that I look at and think, "I want to be exactly like them when I grow up" other than Tyler Cowen. His curisoity and breadth of knowledge is amazing.

Part of that knowledge stems from reading. And reading a lot. Here's some advice:

  • People don’t read enough, and I think as a society we’re under-investing in reading. People feel compelled to finish books they’ve started – that’s just a tax on your reading. Why would you do that to yourself? Imagine a world where any restaurant you tried you had to keep on going there for days or weeks, you’d hardly ever go out to eat.

  • So I advocate reading books in cluster – the author can be the clustering factor, it can be the topic, it can be the historical period – but you really get into a person’s mind if you re-read everything they’ve done within the span of a few weeks or months, and then watch them on YouTube, and just try to think about and write out notes, “What am I going to ask them?” One of the very best ways to read is to have your own podcasy.

  • So the way you read well is just by reading a lot, and by reading a lot your whole life. And then when you go to read actual books you’re like “I know that, I know that, I know that,” and you keep on going, and you read much more quickly. And that’s really the way to read a lot. There are these compounding returns to being obsessed with reading, and starting young, and never stopping.

Read more reading advice from Tyler Cowen here.