How I read 50 books in 9 months

How I read 50 books in 9 months

Over the past few years, I have made it my goal to read more books each year than the year before. By increasing the number of quality books I read per year, I increase the amount of knowledge I gain every year. Reading daily is a habit that I encourage everybody to take up. It isn’t just something I preach, it is something I am committed to doing myself.

Having in previous years, read 20-40 books a year, I decided to up my goal this year to 50 books. Alhamdulillah, I am happy to announce that nine months into the year, I have already completed 51 books, and am on my way to completing 7 more.

Now, in reality, this number isn’t really that impressive. Some of my teachers read 100 or more books per year. But these teachers are also retired and have more time on their hands. I have to handle a university job, a freelance career, a writing career, and homeschooling my kids. So I am quite happy with my progress in building this habit.

So the question I have been getting a lot in the past few days is, “How did you manage to read so many books this year?” The answer is rather lengthy so I decided to write this post about. There are six important steps that helped me accomplish this goal.

1. Having an ever-increasing to-read list.

To ensure that I never reach a point in the year where I don’t know what to read next, I am constantly adding books to my to-read list. I utilize Goodreads to keep track of every book I read, am currently reading, and plan to read in the future.

I also use it to keep track of my progress towards my annual reading goals. Whenever I come across a book I might be interested in, I add it to my Goodreads to-read list. That way, I always know what I plan to read next once I am done reading my current set of books.

Recommendation: Get a Goodreads Profile, and start using it to track your progress.

2. Reading more than one book at a time.

I don’t stick to one book at a time. This can sometimes be very tedious, especially if reading for multiple hours a day, and if the book is lengthy. Instead, I focus on two or three books at a time. That way, as soon as my attention is waning from one book, I can switch to another to keep my mind fresh. By reading multiple books at a time, I am able to finish 5-7 books per month easily.

Recommendation: Build a habit of reading two books at a time. This will be even more effective is they are from completely different genres.

3. Reading for two to three hours a day.

I started my habit many years ago with a dedicated half an hour a day for reading. As the years have gone by, I have increased it by half an hour each year. Currently, I read for two or three hours a day, depending on my workload. In this way, I am able to read more books per month by reading for more hours per day.

Recommendation: If you don’t have a habit of reading yet, start with building the habit of reading for thirty minutes every day. Once you are accustomed to it, slowly increase the amount of time you spent reading daily.

4. Alternating between long and short books.

One obstacle that prevents many people from meeting their reading goals is getting stuck in a long book until you lose interest. My way around this is to read multiple books at a time, some short and some long. That way, even if it takes me three months to read a long book, I would have completed 10 other books during that same time using this method.

For example, Principles by Ray Dalio is a very lengthy book on investing and finance, I started reading it in February, and completed it in May. At the same time though, I alternated between reading this for an hour and reading a shorter book for an hour. As a result, I read 12 other books during this same time period.

Recommendation: Don’t get stuck on lengthy books. Read a shorter book alongside it, so that you can meet your goals and not lose motivation.

5. Speed-Reading only when needed.

There are two situations in which I choose to speed-read; when I am reading about a topic I am already very familiar with, and when I am re-reading an old book that I read many years ago. Many books discuss similar topics, to master a topic I tend to read at least 10 books on the topic. I will read the first one or two slowly, but then start speed-reading through sections of the others. In this way, I cover more ground faster without wasting time slowly reading something I already read before.

Sometimes I re-read books I have read many years ago to refresh my memory or get a new perspective on them. Our thoughts, knowledge, and experience develop with time, so it is often helpful to go back and re-read old books with a new perspective to understanding them better.

Recommendation: If you find the content of a book familiar, try speed-reading it. If you know of any books that you read many years ago and didn’t understand, try re-reading them again this year. You will be surprised how much better you understand them now.

6. Incorporating reading into my work tasks.

I primarily earn a living through three things; university teaching and management, freelance writing, and writing my own books. All three require extensive reading and research. As a result, I have the privilege of being able to read on the job and to get paid for it.

Often a client will give me a list of books to read before writing their book/article for them. In these cases, they are literally paying me to read books. Likewise, the university expects me to have the latest information in my field, so reading books on the subjects I teach during work hours is an expected part of the job.

And of course, for my own books, I need to research thoroughly before writing, so I large part of my writing process is extensive reading.

Recommendation: If you really want to spend a large portion of your day reading, choose a job/career which requires you to read and research a lot.


Utilizing these six steps I am able to read dozens of books per year. I accomplish this by having a constantly growing to-read list, reading multiple books at a time, and dedicating hours of my day to reading. I also alternate between big and small books, speed-read when necessary, and do work that requires extensive reading. This is how I met this goal.

I hope this sufficiently answered the question. 馃檪

Best books I’ve read this year

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, 1 comment
A Glimpse At My Writing Process

A Glimpse At My Writing Process

Alhamdulillah, I have been writing books for over a decade now. In that period, I have produced over a dozen titles, in various languages. In a few months, I will release my next book; Productivity Principles Of 士Umar II, if Allah wills it.

In anticipation of the launch of my latest book, I want to share a glimpse at my writing process. I hope this will inspire and assist upcoming authors to adopt productive habits that catapult them into success.

Why I Started Writing?

Let’s start at the beginning. I often get asked why I write books in an era of video and social media. Many people tell me that people don’t read books anymore and that I should focus more on video content.

I disagree with this negative attitude. It is true that there are more people watching videos than reading books these days. But books are still the most valuable resource for those who wish to study a topic in-depth. Books provide a far more immersive educational experience than a YouTube video or Instagram post.

It is very rare for someone to be truly transformed by a YouTube video. Yet every successful person will point you in the direction of a book that changed their life. Books are the lifeblood of real change, and so to make a real impact, writing books is essential.

Another reason I choose to write books is that it is a core feature of the Islamic legacy. Every generation of Muslims has produced outstanding Islamic books that people still benefit from centuries later. Imagine the reward that these authors are accumulating in the grave for producing their books. Should we too want to be a part of this legacy?

The third reason why I write is that it is who I am. Writing is a part of my soul. On the days when I do not write anything, my soul feels agitated and restless. Yet when I am writing, I enter a state of happiness, inner peace, and contentment. I believe it is because my soul is doing what it was created to do. I have been a writer from the time I was a little child. There wasn’t any point in my life in which I did not think that I will one day write a book. So it is only natural that when I grew up, I wrote and published my first book during my early twenties.

My Daily Process

I have a simple daily goal that helps me excel at writing; I write 1000 words minimum every day, besides Sundays.

It may not seem like much but in the long run, it really helps turn writing from a dream into a reality. Writing 1000 words a day is a daily goal, regardless of whether I have a topic to write about or not. This way I maintain the habit and momentum of writing every day even when I am not working on a new book.

So what do I write about?

Anything and everything. Sometimes I may write a blog post. Some days a section of a book I am thinking about writing. Some days a journal entry. And some days just absolute randomness to meet my word count. The goal is to make the habit stick for life. Because of this, I now have a habit of writing a minimum of 1000 words a day. On a good day, I may write 3000-4000 words.

Another important part of this is choosing the right time of the day to write. Morning birds may want to write first thing in the morning. Night owls may prefer to do their writing late at night. I prefer writing in the afternoon when I am in my peak performance state. So every afternoon, from 2 pm to 4 pm I work on my writing projects.

Between having a set time, during my peak performance time, and a set daily minimum, writing had become a habit of mine. Lately, I find myself writing at least 4 to 5 hours day, due to the variety of freelance writing projects I am currently working on.

Finding The Right Topic

Once I get into the habit of writing every day. Eventually, ideas start to come. Sometimes the ideas are not very good and become abandoned first drafts. Other times, they make nice topics for blog posts or articles. Eventually, at least once or twice a year, a big idea will hit me.

When it does, I just know it. I feel an excitement deep down inside, and I just know this is what my next book must be about. When that inspiration hits, the words start to flow. From that day onward, my 1000 words a day is dedicated to the book in my mind until it is completed, which usually takes between two to five months, depending on size and the amount of research needed.

Getting It Done

Once I have my idea for a book, I have a system that makes writing the book much easier. First I write out my idea in as much details as possible, writing it in S.M.A.R.T. goal format. For example, for my next book, I set my goal as; A 350-page book deducting personal development lessons from the life of 士 Umar II, which I will publish in December, in shaa Allah.

The goal is;
1) Specific: deducting personal development lessons from the life of 士Umar II
2) Measurable: 350 pages
3) Actionable: 1000 words a day
4) Realistic: I have knowledge about both the life of Umar II and personal development.
5) Time-Bound: Will publish it in December 2019

With my goal crystallized in such details, I then work on my first draft. I also have a detailed system for producing my first draft. I first make a list of chapters. Then I make a separate section for each chapter in the draft file. I then write a few points in each chapter to give me an idea about what I want to write in it.

After that, it is simply a matter of showing up every day, looking at the chapters in my file, deciding which one I want to write, and then turning each of those points into sub-section. I do this for 1000-2000 words a day. Within two months, the first draft is ready. Then editing begins. Within six months, the book is ready for publication, Alhamdulillah.

Building Upon Past Experiences

An important part of my writing process is building upon past experiences. With each book I write, I take note of what worked and what didn’t. I read all the reviews, especially the negative ones and take notes accordingly. I then analyze all the feedback together and work out areas in which I can improve.

If the area of improvement requires training, I take an online course or read a book on the topic. If improvement just requires practice, I use my 1000 words per day to practice for the next month. My goal is to become a better author with each book I write. There is always room for improvement, so I take all feedback seriously, and work daily at becoming a better author.

But I am still working towards my dream

I wrote my first book in 2009. In 2014, I had a dream; I want to be a full-time author. I did not realize how long it takes to make a dream a reality. In 2019, I am halfway towards my goal. These days, I spend half my days working on various writing projects. These include freelance projects, my books, my blog posts, and my online courses. Together, these contribute to around 50% of my monthly income, sometimes more.

To be halfway towards a goal after five years is not bad. It is actually a good thing. It means with a bit more effort, continuous improvement, more books, and some good ideas, I can eventually attain my dream, with Allah’s Help and Permission.

My dream is to spend the rest of my life writing beneficial books and articles, without needing to worry about money. I have one small request; make dua that my dream comes true.

If you want to learn more about my writing, self-publishing and sales process, sign up for my self-publishing online course by clicking here. Over 100 students have studied the course already, and many are already on their way to fulfilling their writing dreams too. Click here to join the course.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, 3 comments
Why Self-Confidence Tips Don’t Always Work

Why Self-Confidence Tips Don’t Always Work

Sometimes it can be really frustrating to read self-development material. You may read an article/book/course on self-confidence, digest it completely, feel a momentary boost, then…nothing. It just doesn’t work. You are still stuck as the same self-hating loner as you were before you read the book.

So what went wrong? And does everybody have the same experience? I’ll answer the second question first. No, not everybody has the same experience. Take me, for example. When I was a little kid, I was a shy quiet boy with no self-confidence. This remained the case right into my mid-twenties. Then I read a series of self-confidence books and everything changed.

Today, I am a confident public speaker, teacher, author, freelancer, and entrepreneur. I have even written a book on self-confidence that has helped 1000s of readers do the same. But I’ll get to the book later. Let’s discuss the bigger issue; why don’t these books work for everybody? Well, I have several theories. Let’s see if any of them apply to you.

1. You skimmed through the book

Action-based books like self-confidence guides are meant to be studied in-depth, analyzed, understood and implemented. if you just skim through the summaries of each chapter, you will not get the full and proper benefit from the book. The book must be read and studied seriously in order to thoroughly boost your self-confidence.

2. You thought reading it is enough

Even if you read a book thoroughly, it isn’t enough to boost your self-confidence. Books like these are meant to be acted upon. It isn’t enough to read the book, you must try everything the book suggests, and implement as much as possible. This is where the real work lies. In order to boost your confidence, you must take action. There is no other way.

3. You missed some crucial sections

It may be that you read the book and tried your best to implement it, but for some reason, you may have skipped a paragraph or two that was necessary for understanding its content. Try going back and reading the book again to find if you missed anything necessary to improve your confidence.

4. You just need an excuse to not take action

Its easier to blame a book for not being beneficial, than to hold oneself accountable for not taking action. The actions required to build one’s confidence can often be scary and difficult. This is why many people find it easier to simply say that the book/course wasn’t beneficial than to put in the effort to upgrade to the next level of life.

5. You haven’t read the right book yet

Some books are all fluff and theory and don’t give enough action points to actually make a difference in your life. This is why I wrote Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence. This book was designed to give you practical advice that is simple to implement and genuinely works. Over the years, thousands of readers have benefited from Best Of Creation, and now it is your turn.

Today, I am offering you an eBook copy of Best Of Creation with two huge bonuses; an accompanying workbook full of practical activities to boost your confidence, and 10 video lessons based on the eBook. The total package is worth more than $100, but I am offering it today for only $10. You can learn more about this offer here.

Best Of Creation eBook
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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Self Confidence, 0 comments
How to get more out of reading a book

How to get more out of reading a book

Reading often is one of the best habits you can develop. By reading a book a month, you can increase your knowledge at a much faster pace than most people. Reading gives you an edge over those who don’t read.

But not everybody who reads books gets a lot of knowledge out of their books.

For some people, by the time they have finished reading one book, they have forgotten the content of the book they read before that. If you want to avoid falling into this trap, pay attention to the following advice.

1. Have a goal for each book

Before reading any book ask yourself ‘what do I want to get out of this book’ and work towards that goal while reading the book. For example, when you decide to read ‘Getting The Barakah‘ do so with the intention of mastering time management. This will be much more beneficial than just reading it for fun or to just get it over with.

Once you have a goal, you can now focus on trying to achieve that goal. You can put systems in place to measure how close you are to achieving that goal, and to follow up on whether you were able to achieve the goal after finishing the book.

More examples of goal setting when reading a book:
1. I am reading this Tafsir book to get a better understanding of the Quran.
2. I am reading this money management book so that I can become more financially mature.
3. I am reading this fiction book to stimulate my imagination and help me think of new ideas.

2. Engage with the book

This may sound like a weird idea, but it works really well. Every time you come across an important passage in the book that you find hard to understand, take the time to engage with the book. Repeat what you read out loud. Ask questions about what you read out loud. Write down the point in your own words. Engage with the book as if it is a dialogue and you will find yourself benefiting a lot more from reading that book.

For example: If you read a passage explaining a new system of time management, repeat the system out loud by saying, “So what the author is saying is…” If you can complete that sentence in your own words, it means that you have understood the passage well.

If the book is teaching a practical skill like writing or marketing, then take breaks from reading to practice. So you can read for 30 minutes, then practice for 30 minutes in order to make sure you are actually learning the skill.

3. Summarize the book

After completing the book, take some time to write a paragraph or page summarize the core message of the book in your own words. This will help you remember the message of the book long after you have completed reading it. And if you ever forget, you can just read the summary you wrote.

Writing a summary will also help you check whether you truly understood the book or not. If you can recap anything in your own words, it usually means you understood it well. If the book is really dense, then consider writing a summary of every chapter as well.

4. Recommend the book to a friend

If you found a book beneficial, then tell your friends and family about it. After all, if a book is beneficial, it deserves to be read by as many people as possible. But how would this help you remember the book better. Because when recommending the book to someone, you will need to recap the core lessons you learned from that book in order to sell them on it. This serves as a form of revision to further cement the topic in your head.

Are you ready to start reading more beneficial books? Then check out our eBook bundle for the perfect starting package.

Time Management eBook bundle
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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, Productivity, 1 comment

The Book of Hope for Sinners

Book Of Hope

The Book of Hope for Sinners

Islamic Self Help is excited to announce the latest book from Shaykh Ismail Kamdar: ‘The Book of Hope for Sinners’. 

The Book Of Hope For Sinners is a compilation of Quranic verses and Hadiths (with commentary) focused on inspiring hope and transformation for those who have fallen into sin.

Book Description

Every human sins, but Islam shows us a way back regardless of how severe or many our sins are.

Every human sins, and God accepts the repentance for all sins. This beautiful book was written to inspire every sinner to hope in God’s Mercy, seek His Forgiveness, and work towards spiritual transformation. 

In this book you will find various verses of the Quran and narrations from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) aimed at inspiring the soul to have hope in God’s Mercy and Repent. 

Islam is the religion of hope and mercy, and this book was written to help sinners experience that hope and mercy once again.

About The Author

Shaykh Ismail Kamdar is a graduate of a traditional Alim program and also holds a Bachelors in Islamic Studies. He has studied Islam in both tradition and modern settings and has been a student of Islamic Studies for almost two decades.

He began studying Islam full-time at the age of thirteen, began preaching at the age of sixteen, and wrote his first book at the age of twenty-three. Over the years, he has taught multiple courses and seminars around the world, and has worked with multiple leading Islamic organizations across the globe.

He currently works from home freelancing for various organizations and companies, while homeschooling his children and writing books. He hopes to inspire the ummah to return to their former glory and become a role model for the world once again.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, 0 comments