Reading 100 Books In a Year

If you've ever stepped foot into a Fruitive, you've probably noticed all the antique books. Ever wonder why these have become such a staple to our healthy restaurant food chain? The inspiration came from Fruitive Founder, Gregg Rozeboom:

I wanted Fruitive to be a place where you felt like you could go get something healthy and be comfortable - a place where you’d enjoy just sitting and reading a book. We are so busy in the world today, that we don’t just stop and read an old book for the pleasure of reading an old book. I wanted people to be able to come in, pause a moment, and eat something good for their body while reading something good for their mind. 

Have you ever read more than 100 books in one year? Most people haven't. That didn’t stop Gregg from accomplishing that last year! Read on to learn more in an interview with him about his experience.

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What made you want to read that many?

At the end of the previous year, I was reading a lot of books in preparation for my company’s quarterly meeting. I realized then that when I’m hungry for information, it’s easy for me to read a couple books a week. I thought to myself, if I can read two books a week without too much difficulty, why not read 100 books in a year? I’ve always done New Year’s resolutions (i.e. journaling everyday, exercise routines) and this seemed like a fun one to do.

How did you accomplish it?'

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There is so much I want to learn to do better in with my work, personal life, etc. Each week I would ask myself, “What am I facing this week and what books would help me in that?”. For example, there was one week I was going to hire for a specific position so I read all the books on best hiring practices in preparation. 

I wanted to read all formats — I had books by my nightstand that I’d read in the evenings, audiobooks constantly going for my DC commutes, and electronic versions on my phone. I’ve trained my brain to listen to audiobooks at 2X speed but can go up to 3x speed now. I’ve trained my kids to do that, too. My daughter now feels 2X speed is too slow!

Right now I am actively reading maybe 15 books and 4-5 books are on my nightstand. I’m almost always in the mood to read, but not always in the mood to read the same book.

How did you decide which books you were going to read?

I hate reading books that I’m going to end up giving a 1, 2, or 3 star to. I read both positive + negative reviews on Amazon and Goodreads before starting a book and that screened out a lot. I typically choose my books based off of topics that I’m interested in.

Favorite book read last year?

My two favorite were probably, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz and “Red Notice” by Bill Browder.

Least favorite book read last year?

One of my least favorite books that I read last year (that a lot of people like) was “The 4 Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris. There are some interesting tidbits in it but it was hard to get past his arrogance. His model works for him but you almost have to have his personality to make it work. He’s trying to take this thing that worked for him and make it work for everyone. 

How did these books influence how you work? Your personal life?

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I feel like last year I went from focusing on managing my company to focusing on the future of the company. Every book I read on business I kept thinking, “How is this going to impact where we are ten years from now as a brand?”. When I had a hiring decision and read a book on hiring processes, it wasn’t just for that one hire, it was learning how to approach hiring in our company for the future. I also read a lot of books on listening. It can be easy for me as an entrepreneur to do a lot of the talking but last year I learned to listen. 

Personally, I spent a lot of time reading to my family which was a great way to spend time with them. My kids loved “Divergent”, “The Hunger Games” series, and “The Nut and the Butterfly”.

Do you have a recommendation for helping others read more? 

Start with one book a month. Reading twelve books a year is great! Sometimes if you set a goal too high you don’t do anything at all. Maybe get a few different ways to read a book — audio, kindle/phone, paper — and see if there is a method that works best for you. Once you start accomplishing your initial goal you can expand out.

All time favorite book?

I was raised on the Bible and that is my favorite book. Beyond that, my favorite would have to be the Harry Potter series. I love the underlying themes of friendship, love, loyalty in the books and have enjoyed reading them to my five kids. Shoe Dog is my favorite business book — it’s an incredible story of how someone built an iconic brand and all the crazy ups and downs he went through to accomplish it. 

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When Elon Musk was asked how he learned how to build rockets he said, "I read books". There is so much to learn from books and there’s no wonder why so many entrepreneurs are avid readers! Want to see Gregg’s full reading list? Check out his profile on Goodreads.

In the meantime, stop by one of our shops, relax, and read a book!

Emily Benson