Do you love to read books but have read so many that sometimes you can't remember specifics of a book? Or do you sometimes finish a chapter in a book and wonder what you just read about? If so, you're not alone. I love to read but my passion for reading multiple books at the same time sometimes gets me in trouble in remembering what I just read. As I read books, I enjoy the learning that takes place and the new concepts presented but I find that if I don't apply what I've learned right away, I lose the valuable lessons.
My objective for writing this article is two parts. One, I want to share this information with you in order for you to:
1. Save time and be a more effective reader.
2. Retain more valuable information and reach new levels of understanding with your reading.
3. Improve the quality of your life since a better understanding of your reading new good concepts that you can apply to your life will only result in making your life better.
My second objective is to learn these concepts better for myself by sharing them with you. Teaching to others what you've learned yourself takes understanding new concepts to a whole new level and I hope you'll follow my example and do the same.
Several years ago I listened to an audio program called Living an Exceptional Life, by Jim Rohn. In this program, he suggested that you read all kinds of books from literature to history to biographies, fiction, and non-fiction but before you read all those books, he suggested a book called How to Read a Book, the classic guide to intelligent reading by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. This article shares highlights from this book about how to get more out of your reading.
Two types of reading I want to cover at this point are systematic skimming or pre-reading while the second one is superficial reading.
In pre-reading, one picks up a book and skims it to see if it might be an interesting one. The following are some suggestions on how to quickly skim a book.
1. Preview the title page and its preface. What does it mean to you? Note the subtitles or any other indications of the purpose of the book. After you have a good idea of what the book is about, take a moment to index this book in an appropriate category of similar books in your mind.
2. Study the table of contents to get a sense of the general structure of the book. Looking at the table of of contents can be likened to taking a look at a map before you go on a trip. It is your pathway through the book. Few people read the table of contents to find out what will be covered in a book and how it will be developed. Examining the table of contents will give you a good idea of the direction of the message that the writer wants to convey to you.
3. Check the index. Take a cursory glance at what topics will be covered and the kinds of books the author is referencing.
4. Take a look at the dust jacket and read the publisher's blurb. Most authors put an accurate summary of their book here.
After taking these four steps, you will have enough information to decide whether this book is one worth reading or not.
Watch on this blog for Part 2: How to be a More Effective Reader to get tips on how to properly skim the main part of a book.