In looking at reading goals, it can be kind of tricky to set a decent metric to measure against.
Most people default to “number of books read” (including myself), which isn’t bad. The problem is that it can create some bad incentives, particularly later in the year. I know one person that was short of his goal in December, so he read a bunch of short books in order to get there. Does that really count?
Related, I talked to another friend that never uses that metric specifically because he doesn’t want to limit himself. He reads more than anyone I know, but it often reads huge, long books. Those should count for more, right?
I see three other ways it could be measured:
Pages (or minutes): You could just look at the total number of pages read, or if you do audiobooks it could be minutes listened. That’s not bad.
Highlights saved: This is something pretty easy for me to measure with Readwise, but it measures the wrong thing. This measures how much value I’ve discovered in the books, but not how much total reading I’ve done. Value is the real goal, though, so maybe it counts?
Blog posts created: For me, much of my reading leads to writing blog posts from topics on a particular book. This is somewhat hard to track, because sometimes I’ll share multiple highlights in a post, or share highlights from multiple books in a post. Still, this is another good way to measure how much value I get out of any given book.
Ultimately, I think I’ll keep an eye on two things:
- While it’s not a perfect metric, “number of books read” is easy enough that I’ll use it.
- Of those books, sorting by “highlights” is a great way to see what had the most impact on me.
We’ll see how it goes.
What metrics do you use to track your reading progress?