"A mind stretched to a new idea can never go back to its original dimension"

How to read “non-fiction” fast & efficiently

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MBA or PhD ~ 40 speciality books, World class ~ 200 speciality books.

Read, duh – instead of TV, gaming, web browsing (yea, guilty:) – a good book is more rounded – most web content is enticement to go from link to link to a buy page, so select & buy/rent directly – you save time, energy & sanity

Read in waves, cycles:

1. covers, table of contents, titles, illustrations, tables.

a.) get the overall idea of the book – flip through the table of contents, headings, bold, italics, tables, illustrations, index – they say in max. 10 minutes – well, if you can

b.) decide if it’s

I.) worth it

II.) relevant to you

2. 1st phrase of each paragraph, introductions, summaries, indexes (if provided)

mark the appealing portions – don’t plunge in – yet

3. Explore

a.) explore the appealing portions and, if they’re relevant, read-and-reread them until they’re clear

(IMO speed reading works only for very familiar topics, where you have already achieved a critical mass of knowledge and knowledge activation);

b.) take notes, underline, colorize, circle, draw, esp ON the book, yeah, vandalism rules (on your own books, of course);

c.) for each chapter (or big section) write your own summaries, mind-maps – on:

I.) the book itself

II.) pages that you’ll file

III.) pages you attach to the book itself

– they’re called love marks, and they’ll take you DIRECTLY to the books sweetest posts spots :) (two old men, one is crying. “why?” “just got married with a young beautiful chick” “so what’s to cry about?!” “I forgot where I live!”)

d.) read ACTIVELY

what’s the point of this idea – word – phrase – paragraph – chapter – book – series – author – line of thinking?

(sometimes it can be just fluff, printed spam, sometimes a hidden gem, a hidden agenda, sometimes a door, a pathway or a trap)

ask questions, play along, challenge assumptions, anticipate, be critical, connect with what you already (thought you) know

4. Mark, Note & Reread. You may want to mark in different manners:

a.) what seems relevant but not clear

b.) what’s already known, but important

c.) completly new relevant things

d.) known things, but told with a new and/or inspiring tweak

e.) on the front/back inner cover – write the page number & the interesting thing to come back to – it’s MUCH EASIER to find it later this way

f.) fold the corners of the pages containing important stuff

g.) note taking X rereading X applying = combinatorial explosion

5. Rescan the entire article/chapter/book and/or the passages you marked out – it becomes YOUR book

If it’s a valuable/reference book, it may be worth rereading (up to seven times) it entirely because:

– it’s much faster, easier and enjoyable than the first time

– you’ll discover new connections & things you’ve just read, but didn’t notice

– you’ll see, (re)understand and, more importantly, integrate things in new perspectives

– you’ll master the subject.

If you thoroughly understand a reference book you’ll understand the connected ones much more easily, rapidly and deeply.


Written by flowingly

March 14, 2007 at 08:38

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