Here is some nice pointers by Rajesh Setty on how to read a non-fiction book to get the best out of it… I think he makes a lot of sense on this one.. he even has a Squidoo lens where he lists some books that can help… for most part I agree with his list.
I learnt this technique from my friend and mentor Tim Sanders. When you read the book, highlight important points, make your own notes and cross-reference other ideas related to the topic you are reading and so on.Of course, you can do this only when you own the book.
2. Read the book to teach:
Rather than reading the book to do a critic or just to learn something, read it as if you are supposed to go and teach someone on the same topic in the next one or two weeks. The moment, you need to teach, the way you absorb information will drastically change.
3. Use something from the book immediately:
Just like you can’t become an expert from reading a great book on swimming, you can’t become an expert on any topic you are reading until you start practicing it. Knowing is only part of the deal, doing is what really matters. If someone else that you know has read the book, ask them how have they used the information in their own life? Read reviews and opinions from other folks that might provide more information about how someone would have used this information.
4. Make notes:
One simple way to make a one page note is to create a mindmap out of the key aspects of the book. It is easier to carry a single page of ideas based on the book than the whole book.
5. Share what you read:
Earlier, I said that you need to read the book with a mindset to teach. Now, I say that you need to really "teach" someone the insights of the book. Teaching will totally ground what you read. The audience will benefit from your sharing but the biggest benefit in this exercise is definitely for YOU.
6. Re-visit every now and then:
Very rarely can you digest a good non-fiction book in one-sitting. I have a set of books on my desk that I love to refer back every now and then. Some books are so much fun – as everytime I re-visit them, they provide a whole new perspective.
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