Learn More by Reading Less

I hear about and stumble across interesting books all the time. When I do, I add them to an ever-growing list. 

This ever-growing list has become a point of frustration. Some highly recommended books weren’t living up to expectation, and other books sometimes seemed like a waste of time. I figured there had to be a more productive way to learn what these books had to teach.

I did a little research and stumbled across a method that really works for me. Here’s a quick how-to if you want to give it a try…

  1. Determine if the book is worth reading by scanning the table of contents and the prologue. Put it down after skimming chapter one if it hasn’t captured your interest.
  2. Start with the big picture. Read all of the first chapter for an overview.
  3. Read all of the final chapter for a summary.
  4. For the remaining chapters in between, read the first paragraph and the first sentence of every paragraph in each chapter.
  5. You won’t remember everything, but you wouldn’t remember everything even if you read every word. Focus on the main points, and if/when you need additional explanation or clarification, read more.
  6. Keep a book journal or make notes in the book itself. Writing a one page summary in your book journal will help you to retain more information.
  7. Go back and read your summary a day or two after writing. This will help to reinforce the information that you have deemed most important. 

This method may not be for everyone, but step one applies to all. Stop wasting time on something that hasn’t captured your interest. 

Jennifer Morrow