The Epic Reading Challenge

Hello, and welcome to the 3rd & final instalment of the speed-reading series.

As you’ll remember, in the 1st part I shared the 3 powerful techniques that helped me triple my reading speed over the last 4 months.

In the 2nd part, I told the tale of my attempt to beat the speed-reading challenge & finish a full book in one day.

Today it’s time for me to introduce & commit to one of my biggest challenges so far.

I gotta warn you: some of you will think it’s crazy. Some of you might think I’m a big nerd.

But I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’m thrilled about the possibilities this challenge brings.


But first,  why do I love challenges so much? Why can’t I just chill out and live normally?

Because I believe true happiness is derived from eudaemonia, not hedonistic pursuits.

In plain terms, I know I’m happier when I’m pushing myself towards new heights then when I’m just chilling and “living the good life”.

If you’re reading this website,  you’re probably pretty similar in that regard.


In 2012, one way I want to step things up is to learn A LOT about the things I’m passionate about.

I truly believe that Knowledge + Action = Power… And acquiring knowledge has never been more accessible to us.

In this light, I’ve decided to create a challenge that would “force” me to learn & challenge my mind more than ever.

I have decided, and I am hereby committing, to read no less than 52 books in 2012. 

With an average of 250 pages/book, that’s a hefty 13,000 pages of reading. (Damn… I just calculated that. That’s a LOT haha.)

Why the hell do I want do that?

3 main reasons:

1) I love reading. When I’m on vacation, I devour books in 2-3 days. But when I’m at home… I barely read, except for 5-10 minutes before bed (I’m sure it’s the same for some of you).

2) I truly believe that, as Norman Cousins once said, “The growth fo the human mind is still high adventure, in many ways the highest adventure on earth.”  And the more we expand our mind, the more we can apply to our life and make big things happen.

3) I’ll be able to share my best discoveries with you guys by creating exceptional content for this website.


And I’d love you guys’ input… I’ve already created my Epic 2012 Reading List and as you’ll see it’s pretty extensive, but I still have a few slots open.

What’s 1 book you absolutely recommend, and why? Please let me know in the comments section!



 PS: Don’t miss any of the great knowledge I’ll be sharing, join my mailing list! 


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  • You should read “How the world can be the way it is” by Steve Hagen! Maybe a mind-fu%$ for one week, but a great book! Also, Sidhhartha by Herman Hesse if you haven’t yet, an absolute must read. As well Convo’s with God by Niel Walsch!

    • Thanks Leon! Just checked out Hagen’s book and definitely looks like a mind-fck but sometimes it’s good to blow our own mind right :) I’ve read Siddhartha already but I’ll check out Convo’s with God, heard a lot of good things about it. Cheers man!

  • Awesome, I love knowing other people’s fave reading list … thanks!
    I recommend Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery by Chogyam Trungpa.

    • Thanks Michelle! I’m hugely interested in understanding how fear works & how to better overcome it so this seem quite fitting. Have a great day!!

  • How to get rich – Felix Dennis

    Less of the flowery stuff and more hard facts but still an entertaining read as the lessons come from his mistakes. He’s a poet as well so it makes it a lot easier to digest. One of the wealthiest men in the UK and gives what appears to be an extremely honest account of his journey.

    One of the best business books I’ve read.

    • Cool I’ll have to check it out as well! Just finished Secrets of the Millionaire mind a few hours ago, have you had a chance to read it? If so, how did it compare?

  • At the moment, I’m reading ‘The 100 Thing Challenge’ by Dave Bruno. I don’t know if you’re into the whole minimalism thing, but it’s certainly made me think about all the ‘stuff’ I’ve got cluttering the place up, and how much of it is really necessary.

    • Hey Rebecca, that’s very interesting.. As a part of my semi-nomadic lifestyle I’ve had to get rid of a lot of stuff but I still have too much.. especially in terms of clothing. Must be very eye-opening, especially since the minimalist attitude is very far from mainstream! I might have to read that one too!!

  • On The Road by Jack Kerouac

    It’s another fiction one, but was based on real events. :o)

    • Thanks Lisa, I’ve heard about it & will keep it in mind when I want a good fiction book!

  • […] why I’ve embarked on an epic reading challenge this year, and why you should use all the tools at your disposal to learn something every day: […]

  • Inspired! And challenged myself. I tend to read a lot as well, and I’ve considered going for 52 as well. Since I’m semi retired, and generally coasting on a quest for knowledge and experience, I think I have a leg up. But you know, it still sounds challenging!

    Im going for it!

    • Awesome man! Really when it comes down to it.. it’s about 30-45 minutes of reading daily. Not that hard, it’s just about consistency!! Cheers!

      • Yeah, put that way it really is quite simple. It’s the same thing for anything though, 30 mins a day is actually a ton of time when it all adds up. Reading, learning a language or instrument or art, shoot, even working out!

        • Totally agree!

          If only there was a little extra 30 minute everyday ;)

  • Hey again, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your reading list. I got an Amazon voucher yesterday and I was so excited to use it, but found it hard to narrow down all the books I wanted! I came back to your list for some inspiration and I ended up ordering the following:

    ‘The How of Happiness’ by Sonja Lyubomirsky

    ‘Encounter the Enlightened’ by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

    ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho

    ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’ by Stephen Batchelor

    ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz

    ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success’ by Deepak Chopra

    ‘A Philosopher’s Notes – On Optimal Living, Creating an Authentically Awesome Life and Other Such Goodness’

    I can’t wait to get stuck in! I might have to try implementing some of your speed reading tips too – it’s been taking me ages to get through a book lately!

    • Awesome list Rebecca. So much amazing wisdom in there!! Yeah definitely try and implement the techniques, even if you don’t become a blazing fast reader, you can still increase your speed really quickly just by using your finger and starting/ending each line 3 words from the margin..

      The other thing that’s helped me a lot.. try to block off 30 minutes/a day for reading!

      Enjoy & let me know your thoughts on those books!!

  • I just finished reading three Malcolm Gladwell books: Blink, Outliers, and the Tipping Point. All three are extremely interesting and make you think about everything around you differently

    • Hey Brian! Yes Gladwell definitely helps us look at the world around us in a different light, it’s great. I’ve read all 3 books a couple years ago, really enjoyed them!

  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. It’s a great book, pretty long to finish in a week, but definitely worth reading.
    Also Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s beautifully written.

    • Thanks Leslie, I’ll check those out! I’ve read Peace is in every step by Thich Nhat Hanh, really enjoyed it. I’ve actually given it as a present to a few people. So soothing and enlightening..

  • Phil, checkout Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss. I have one chapter left to read and it’s very much an eye opener. It will probably take you an hour or two to read, it’s a tiny book. It’s so good, I’m going to read it once or twice more as soon as I’m done. Let me know what you think if you end up reading it.


  • I frequently read at least 2-3 books a week, sometimes on a quiet weekend I will read 1-2 books in a day. Love it! Love learning new stuff

    • Wow, that’s crazy Zoe! Make sure you got out there and apply this knowledge though :) Through learning comes from experience!

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  • Great list! I just leraned about this blog yesterday and I’m loving it! Starting a cold shower challenge today and got some friends involved!

    Below are my top four for the year that I’ve read so far, the first two are more psychology/knowledge to inspire growth. The latter two are fiction but very powerful reads.

    The Power of Habit- Charles Duhigg
    Quiet: The Power of Introversion – Susan Cain
    The Art of Fielding- Chad Harbach
    The Dog Stars- Peter Heller

    I’m guessing Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” is a big inspiration to you considering the Superhuman thing I’ve seen on the blog, not sure if you’ve heard of the site (I have no affiliation, just love how accessible it makes philosophy) but this is one of my favorite breakdowns of Zarathustra

  • […] why I’ve embarked on an epic reading challenge this year, and why you should use all the tools at your disposal to learn something every day: […]

  • Good day all,
    Really I am enjoying reading all your comments. I have one question: Do you read a book till finshing it or you are reading too many (e.g. 2 or 3 books) at same time? Which one do you think is prolific?
    I enjoy reading you again, and thanks Phil for creating that for us.

  • […] why I’ve embarked on an epic reading challenge this year, and why you should use all the tools at your disposal to learn something every day: […]

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  • […] why I’ve embarked on an epic reading challenge this year, and why you should use all the tools at your disposal to learn something every day: […]

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