9 Tips on Reading Non-Fiction

Jan 18, 2010

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).



Join the mailing list to receive updates from our team!
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.