Getting The Most From Kindle Books

Kindle Me Smart – Getting The Most From Kindle Books

This is a short guide to help get the most from book reading. I include a few helpful reading tips, several resources for finding free and inexpensive books to read, along with how and why reading is fundamental to our online business future.

I’ve always been a big reader as an adult. As a child… would you believe I made it though the 10th grade in high school without reading more than a single book? It’s true; the only book I read in high school was a biography of Abraham Lincoln. After all these years, I still remember Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President and was born in 1809 and was shot almost exactly 100 years before I was born.  I guess I’ve been making up for that lack of effort ever since I became an adult.

Why we need to read

I really struggled with adding this section because, to me, it’s common sense. The only way to grow, in business or otherwise, is to learn. Reading is one of the easiest, and cheapest, methods of learning. Sure, we should be talking, listening, and attending functions, but a book or reader can fit so nicely in our hands and find us wanting almost any time of the day or night.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
~ Stephen King

If you’re a blogger, and I’m betting you are, I certainly hope you’re reading. I hope you’re reading other blogs, books, and research articles and content.

A Few Reading Tips

Time & Place: Best place and reading times – We all have crazy schedules and the best times to read will be unique for each of us. I love to read my Kindle in the evening about an hour before I go to bed. I drive a lot so I will often listen to books via Audible several times a day. I also listen when walking, showering, or working around the house. I have Bluetooth speakers setup for this. Find the time and place that best suits you and, if you need to, schedule it into your calendar.

What to read: The choices of books available are just insane and finding our best fit can be a challenge. I’ll mention reviews below in its own section but reading honest reviews will certainly help in finding quality content to read.

Ahh, quality: Quality has to be mentioned here. I’ll go more into my Kindle and Kindle Unlimited in a bit but let me tell you, I’ve found a lot of amazing books and ebooks, since just about anyone  can write one, available on Kindle. For that same reason, I’ve found a lot of absolute garbage as well. Seriously, whenever you hear some blogger telling you to scrape up a handful of your blog posts and convert them into a Kindle book, please ignore that advice.

I will say this for many of the new “self published for Kindle” books out there; many are just loaded with amazing lessons and resources without the repetitive filler traditional publishers strong-arm the writers into writing. Many of the self published books go with the “straight to the point”, no nonsense, read and take action approach and I love that. One of my favorite Kindle authors to date has to be Steve Scott. I read Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote (Plus 75 Ideas for Getting Started) in a couple of hours and feel like an Evernote pro now.

How to read: Stick to one book, or at least one book per genre at a time. Reading can do so much for us, it can be as enjoyable as it is informative. I read between one and three books a week so I make sure the titles I read won’t become a big mix of confusion.

Right now, I’m reading:

  1. Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less by S.J. Scott: I’m going through some of the S.J. Scott books using Kindle Unlimited. They’re fast reads but loaded with great information and resources.
  2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: My wife and I are not only enjoying this classic story together, we’re simultaneously reading and listening using Whispersync for Immersion Reading (discussed below). We read a chapter and then talk about it. It’s actually a fun way to read.
  3. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Edwin Catmull: I’m listening to this highly recommended book by the president of Pixar Animation Studios. Creativity, Inc. is an amazing read (or listen) and my review is building fast.

As you can see, I’m juggling three books at the same time but I’m using three different methods of consumption and they’re different types of books. This makes it much easier to read more than one book at a time and still retain some of the information I want. Unfortunately, no one retains all, or even most of the information.

Take Action: The last tip I want to pass along is probably the most important. If you’re reading a book for pleasure (Check out The Martian by Andy Weir, it was incredible), good for you – no action required.

But if you’re reading a business, how-to, finance, success, or any other self-help type of book, don’t stop at the last word. Take what you learned and apply it as fast as you can, whenever it makes sense to do so. I just finished MONEY Master the Game by Tony Robbins (my review) and it was so powerful I couldn’t stop taking notes. I signed up for the free recourses, put the tools to use, and took action. I will continue to take action because, after all, that’s why I read the book. My house and retirement outlook are in 1,000% better state than they were just a month ago.

Why Kindle Books?

You don’t have to have a Kindle Tablet or Reader to read Kindle Books. My first tablet was a Barnes & Noble NOOK HD+ 32gb. I also have a 7-Inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 as well as both the Galaxy S5 and S3 smartphones (Android). I used all of these devices when I discovered the world of Kindle Books. On those devices, I use the free Android app to download and read many awesome reads.

Read Kindle Books using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

I was enjoying Kindle books so much, and everything Amazon has to offer, I bought a Kindle Fire HDX Tablet. I wanted to take my reading to the next level by combining my reading and Audible listening in what is being called Immersion Reading.

Immersion Reading

Thanks to Whispersync for Voice, you can switch between reading and listening to your Kindle books using multiple devices OR you can read and listen at the same time, often with real-time highlighting. It’s called Immersion Reading because you are using your two most powerful senses, sight and hearing, to immerse your mind into the book with very little distraction.

I have personally enjoyed the benefit of Immersion Reading with many books and I’ve not only found that I absorb and retain more of the content but that I can do so much more quickly. That is because, depending on the book and the audio book narrator, I can speed the playback to 1 ½ to 2 times and easily keep up as I read along. This has actually helped my regular reading speed without the assistance of an audiobook version, not that I’m a speed reader.

Note: I am an Audible user as well BUT you do not need an Audible account to take advantage of the Whispersync for Voice

Book Reviews

According to a 2013 BrightLocal survey, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. I know I read reviews and it looks like I’m not alone.

Allow me to step off the guide writing for a second and mention something I’ve noticed about book reviews. I listen to a ton of Podcasts and many of the books I’ve read were recommended by the podcasters or their guests that I trust and admire. With that said, every now and then I dig into a book recommended by one of these thought leaders and I wonder what they were smoking to recommend such a waste of time.

I guess we are all in different places and have different likes and expectations so not every book review will steer you in the right direction. I do sometimes wonder if some people are afraid to be late to the party and recommend a book that’s getting a lot of attention or press before they’ve actually taken the time to read it themselves. Anyway, that’s my little gripe of the day. 😉

Good Reads

I only recently joined Good Reads and I have to say, I’m finding it a wonderful resource. I’ve found new books to read by reading the reviews as well as finding amazing deals by subscribing to specific groups. For example, I’m a member of the Audiobooks group and I regularly find deals for free or deeply discounted audio books that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Another cool resource is the Amazon Book Forum.

You can connect with me on Good Reads at

Success Reads

I recently posted about a little niche blog I started called Success Reads and that’s going very well. In fact, it’s already generated a couple hundred dollars and we’re just into the second month. More importantly, however, is I am publishing my honest reviews of success and business books that I actually read to help others get the most from their reading.

I have no delusion, or even aspiration, for Success Reads to be the next Good Reads but my followers will have the benefit of gaining valuable insight based on what I’ve read myself and that makes the project worth the effort.

One last thing worth mentioning about Success Reads; since I’ve been reviewing the books I’m reading, I find that I am retaining a LOT more of the information than I would with just normal reading without the note-taking aspect. My Kindle Fire HDX is making that part of my life a breeze as well. In other words, I’m saying that by treating each important book as a study tool like it was an important college exam, many of us will get more from the time we invest into reading.

Kindle book deals – Deals and Free Reading Resources

There are probably hundreds of websites that find and feature free or inexpensive ebooks, Kindle books, audio books, and just about any other format you can imagine. I didn’t want to call this guide, “One Hundred Useless Links to Free Books“, so I’ll only list the links I’ve bookmarked for myself (unless otherwise noted).

The truth is, if I were not so strategic on the books I read, there’s enough free books and e-books out there to keep me wrapped up in front of the fireplace for several lifetimes over. So free, is great, deals are a good, but what we read and retain, no matter the price, is what really matters – that and what we do with the knowledge we gain from it all.

 Just for the Nook and Google people:

Over to you

Over to you, my reader that loves to read. Did you find any value in this week’s post? I know it wasn’t exactly a blogging tip but I feel it falls right in line with what we try to accomplish with our online businesses. Thanks to what I learned writing “Have You Seen This Amazon Associate Linking Tool Page?”, there a lot of Amazon Partner (affiliate) links in this post. Thank you for understanding.

Call to action? How about, if you don’t already use Kindle, download the FREE Kindle Reading App and take your reading to the next level.

About Brian Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. I love what you discovered about retaining more from books when you set the intention before reading the book, to give a review of it.

    One of the principles I learned long ago from Stephen Covey and then had re-hammered home from the 300 pages of notes I took on the Advanced Learning and Teaching Technologies seminar was that if you want to truly improve your knowledge of a subject, you will not just apply what you learn, but then you will also then go on to teach it to someone else as well.

    If you’re an information junkie like me who gets off on absorbing new ideas only to have them forgotten in the not too distant future, you can actually force yourself to gain more out of your time spent reading by imposing success conditions on yourself.

    One of these conditions could be; I don’t get to buy another success resource until I’ve used what I’ve learned in the last resource I bought and made it pay for itself (applies mainly to business building resources)… or if I haven’t taught someone else what I learned from the last resource I bought (applies mostly to mindset oriented resources).

    If an information addict will impose these conditions on themselves, I guarantee they’ll get more out of them than if they didn’t.

    I thank you Brian for reminding me of a lesson that I can’t be reminded of too often. Have fun continuing to teach what you learn to your followers. 🙂

    • Hi Lewis, 300 pages of notes at a seminar is amazing. I just finished Richard Branson’s book “The Virgin Way” and he talks about taking notes several times in the book.

      The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is actually one of the many books I have to revisit for an official review. Another one of those is “Think and Grow Rich” and it’s recommended to read that book with a Master Mind, one chapter at a time. I think that’s a great idea and just might try to put one together.

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