Read books more effectively
You're thinking it the wrong way.
5 min read
Don't fucking memorize that book!
Trying to remember all the 300 pages isn't what's gonna help you. What's gonna help you are the things you put into practice. Action is where we see the results of what we've learned.
I have read many books. Over the years, I realized most books could be much more condensed. That 500-page book could be 300, if not less, and still teach you all the lessons. 😂
Reminds me of this tweet:
Let's talk about books, how to read them and speed reading.
Why so much?
Here is the thing, when authors try to teach you a lesson, they want you to understand and connect with it.
For instance, if I tell you that waking up earlier will make you more disciplined, I'll likely tell you many things along that:
How waking up earlier has changed peoples' lives
Successful people that wake up early
How to slowly change your routine
When to go to bed and how to fall asleep faster
You see, I can tell you something, but I want to convince you of it and help you get there. 😄
Everyone is different
I won't say all books should spit the lessons at your face. Everyone is different. Some people like the stories, and some want the practical stuff immediately.
Others may prefer to get the lessons and figure out how to apply them practically because that's easier for them.
Authors try to include everyone. They want the book to help as many people as possible. That way, it'll also sell more. 😈
Figure yourself out
What do you want from a book?
That's the question you need to ask yourself. I'm currently reading the book Crucial Conversation. Before I read the book, I checked its description. I set a goal before even beginning with the book: improve my confrontational skills and navigate challenging discussions where the other person is heated.
Read the title and description. Breathe and give yourself some time to think.
What do I want from this book that will help me today? 🤔
We're all going through shit in life. Some people need a framework for how to take action in a field, and others need motivation.
Anyways, make sure to answer the question before beginning with a book.
Should you take notes?
If taking notes helps you, then take notes. I won't tell you to take notes, but I will tell you: what matters is what you apply to your life.
Having a lot of knowledge is nice, but beneficial knowledge is the real deal. So if you decide to take notes, don't take notes of things you'd be okay with forgetting. 😉
Taking notes while going through the entire book isn't something I've found helpful. It takes longer for me to finish a book and most of the book isn't what I can apply to practice. This doesn't apply to all books, but many of them.
If you know me, you know I'm a fan of blogging.
Here is what I do if I decide to take any notes:
Read a book.
Write a blog post with practical knowledge I don't want to forget.
Skim the book to make sure I haven't missed any practical knowledge.
Edit the blog post.
Publish the blog post.
That's damn right!
Blog-driven development is what I do. I've found this approach to be the most beneficial one. 😏
What to skip?
I have never found the foreword or preface of a book to contain anything helpful.
I always skip them.
Before reading each chapter, think about what you'd like to know before the chapter ends. After that, you can skim the chapter and see if it contains what you want to know.
For instance, if a chapter is called discipline is the key to success, I think to myself:
Isn't this something I already know? What is inside this chapter that would increase my desire to become more discipline? Perhaps stories I haven't heard of?
I can skim the chapter and see if it answers my questions. If I realize the chapter won't benefit me, I skip it entirely. 😛
Drop the book
If you've read a third of the book and it hasn't benefitted you, drop it.
If the author can't help you after a third of the book, the book isn't good.
I have finished many books I should've dropped long ago. 💀
You want to be efficient in your reading. You want to acquire the knowledge that's gonna help you, not knowledge for the sake of it. That's wasted knowledge.
For many, reading is a waste of time.
For others, reading is a productive activity that helps them level up in life. 🤝
I learned this from Tim Ferriss. It's something I'm still practicing today. I started this about 2.5 years ago. I can't do this for every book.
It depends on the content, its depth and how technical it is.
How I read
When I read, I take a 10-minute timer and read focused. That's one session for me. I do this 3-6 times every day. This means I do 30-60 minutes of focused reading daily.
It works nicely and makes sure my reading is effective.
With this write-up, you and I can conclude there are efficient and inefficient readers.
Let's be efficient readers.