9 Tips on Reading Non-Fiction

For those who like to read, here are some tips reading non-fiction:

1 – Finishing the book is not the goal – Just b/c you started reading a book doesn’t mean you have to finish it. If you’re not into it, there’s no reason you should continue reading. The goal is to learn.
2 – Take Notes in the book – I had a hard time doing this for a while b/c you always feel that the book is sacred and you shouldn’t write in it. Go for it. You will retain a lot more info as well by simply writing your thoughts down.
3 – There’s no rule on reading one book at a time – This is up to you. You hear some people say you should only read one at a time, some say you can read more than one. I think you have to tinker with it. I prefer to read multiple books at once, usually no more than 2 or 3.
4 – You can buy a book even if you’re not going to read it right away – If you see something you like and you have the money to spend, go for it. It will look nice on your bookshelf as well.
5 – Keep a list of books you want to read – Great GTD habit. I have a checklist on my blackberry of all the books I want to read. It’s up to about 50. Maybe I will read them, maybe I won’t. It’s good to know they’re there.
6 – It’s OK to skim – Usually, you can get the meat of the content in the first paragraph of each chapter and a lot of times in the summary on each chapter. It’s not a bad way to get an overview and then you can dive in if you’re really interested. I’ve been to Barnes and Noble many times and have skimmed 2-3 books in an hour or two. Learned this from Frank Sopper, a GTD follower and expert in learning styles. You can read more about Frank and his company here. I did a coaching session with Frank and will share some thoughts on that in a future post.
7 – Be Open – There are a lot of experts out there that have gone through experiences that can help you out immensely.
8 – It’s OK to re-read – Many times, I will refer back to a book or even read it a second time. It’s amazing what you can reinforce or even pick up a second time around.
9 – Ask for recommendations – Find someone your respect and ask them what they’re reading. Most people have 2-3 favorites that they got a lot out of. I have a good friend and colleague who’s also a big reader and is very successful. Some of our best conversations are about books we’ve read. We have the same taste and it’s always good to hear about a book I may get something out of that I’m unaware of.

I’m a big fan of Levenger. Great tools for reading (and writing).

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