Challenge: Why reading 12 books this year could change your life

Learning the Zuckerberg Style

Recently, I came across a unique New Year’s resolution set by the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. The 31-year-old billionaire’s new year’s resolution in 2015 was to read 24 books in 12 months (

To do the math for you, that’s roughly one book every two weeks. For me, and many of you, it’s rare to find time to read a good book in two weeks’ time. Then think about the Zuck, once he’s done, he picks up another one and repeats that same process 23 more times. Oh, and did I forget to mention that he runs one of the world’s largest companies simultaneously? How is it done?

To understand his plan, though, you have to look at his previous resolutions: to meet a new person every day and to learn Mandarin in a year (which he did This year, his goal is to get Artificial Intelligence to run his house – like Jarvis from Iron Man. As many of these goals seem crazy, they’re also achievable as he has clearly proved. But how?! Mandarin in a year? 24 books in a year? Who has time for that? Especially balancing that with an ever-growing multi-billion-dollar company. The trick is simple. I’ve been looking at his goals time and time again, watching videos of him speaking Mandarin and ordering some of the books he has read. It’s a magic trick that most of us already know, but cease to implement because it’s not “realistic.” The magic is this: focus on one thing, and really focus on it.

Now, I’m sure you were probably expecting something more complex that that simple one-liner, but it’s true. Could Mark Zuckerberg have read 24 books, learned Mandarin, met a new person every day, and constructed an AI personal assistant to run his house all in one year? Maybe. Could he combine them and do it all in four years? Again, maybe. But it is the laser focus that he puts forth to a goal that helps him accomplish them.

Breaking Down Your Goals

For me, as a college student, it goes like this: 12 hours of class, three jobs, studying, intramurals/gym, friends, some TV, MAYBE laundry, cooking dinner, bed. That’s a full day. That’s likely the same with many others in college. I mean, I want to learn Chinese and I want to have a bookshelf of books, I want to make an impact in this world, but my current schedule doesn’t allow for it. Where is my Iron Man laundry service when I need it?

My goal this year is to read 12 books in 12 months. Not a hard goal? For me, it is. In high school I never read and to be honest, it just wasn’t my kind of fun. How wrong I was. Reading is everything. To learn, we need to read. Reading is like acquiring gold! The more you read, the richer you get. That is why my first goal is to read 12 books in 12 months. It’s a goal that I think every single person should do. Why? To simplify and to grow! I challenge you to start with the same goal this year: to read!

I Challenge You:

Read 12 books this year. Why?

  1. Reading > TV: I’ve already noticed a tremendous drop in TV time and more time in the pages. This is one of the biggest shifts in my life thus far. This will help me overall with prioritizing time.
  2. I keep hydrated! I don’t know why, but while I read, I realize how thirsty I am and end up chugging down a bottle of water or two. So that’s an obvious health benefit.
  3. I can see my goal being completed right before my eyes: page by page I can see that I’m closer to my goal of finishing a book. It helps me actually accomplish goals and track it correctly.
  4. I’m getting smarter. One of the things we all seek is self-actualization or self-achievement. The way to do that? To learn.
  5. It’s fun! I never thought that reading was fun, but now I find myself attached to characters and waiting to read what’s next. As I always say, “If something isn’t fun to you, don’t do it.”
  6. It helps me prioritize. When I sit down on the couch, I say, “How can I better myself?” That’s when I walk in my room and grab a book. Instead of digging into a bag of chips, I’m learning about a man who started schools for girls in a war-zone. It helps me prioritize my time and has helped me better time-manage around things I really want to do.

Education is and should be the most important focus for the world. How can we all learn? How can we all grow? How can we come together? How can we create a more sustainable world or better international relationships? How do we live in Space? How do we taste the best foods in the world in our own kitchen? How can we run injury-free for hundreds of miles like the Tarahumara? All of this is out there: it’s all in books. Whatever your goal is one day, whether it’s being fluent in French or winning a marathon, it starts with this challenge: 12 books in 12 months. This challenge is something that can change your life and help you get back on track toward achieving your goals.

Start today by reading. Track the books you read. When you finish all 12 books, then your practice is over. Once it’s complete, set up your yearlong goal like Mr. Zuckerberg and go accomplish it with laser-focus! It’s seriously that simple. Pick up a book today!

You can find the current list I have today and what I’m reading at:

CoreyGearyNewHeadshotCorey is a Senior seeking a Bachelor’s of Business Management from The University of Georgia. He currently stands as a Regional Coordinator of the Pearson Campus Ambassador Program and is a regular contributor to the PS Blog. He enjoys traveling, learning, and more traveling.