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How To Read A Book To Accelerate Your Learning

Do you have trouble remembering what you read from a recent book?

Are you tired of wasting time flipping through the pages of an entire book to look for a key point that you learnt from it?

Well… I was in the same situation as well until recently when my mentor thought me a great technique on how to read a book effectively.

Reading a book from start to finish is an outdated idea that I was taught when I was a student during my primary school days.

I was doing it subconsciously for many years and wonder why I am not progressing much in life even though I have read several personal development books.

That’s when I realised the importance of applying what I have learnt from the books and not just read them for the sake of reading which I have been guilty of for many years.

The goal of applying this reading technique is...

To accelerate your learning and increase your understanding from the books that you are reading.

A few questions to ask yourself before reading the book:

Am I looking for salient or in-depth answers from the book?

How much time do I have to read the book?

The Steps Revealed…

1. Start by Reading the Front and Back of the Book

The Go-Giver Book Cover

2. Read the Contents Page

Contents Page

*For books that do not have a contents page, you can simply read the start and end of the chapter to come up with the questions.

3. Craft out Questions from the Contents Page

An example of what I did for the Go-Giver book.

I crafted a few questions from the Contents Page.

1. What is the secret to success?

2. What is the law of value?

3. How does the law of value work?

4. Why is the law of value important?

Use the 6 WsWhy, Who, What, Where, When and hoW.

Refer to the book: The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam for more insights on this subject.

When you craft out questions, you are framing your mind to read with purpose. This form of active reading is far more beneficial than reading the book passively.

4. Use a 3 by 5 Index Card (plain or with lines)

Write down the Title and Author of the book at the top of the index card followed by your Questions.

3 by 5 card 1

*I prefer to use a plain index card as I find that using an index card with lines tends to limit my thinking. Of course, you should choose what you are comfortable with.

5. Read the Questions again before diving Into the Respective Chapters of the Book where the Questions were crafted

6. Highlight any Key Points that you pick up from the book that answer the questions

highlight the key points

7. Rephrase the Points in your Own Words for better understanding and write them in the index cards

3by5 card 2

8. Once you are done, clip the cards to your book

9. Be sure to Review what you wrote in the cards before picking up the book to read again

10. Craft New Questions from the table of contents if you need more insights from the book

craft more questions

Repeat steps 5 to 9 again.

Who is this technique for

Anyone who wants to get maximum value out of the book that they are reading or do well in their studies.

Benefits that I have experienced from applying the technique

Better understanding of what I am reading.

A greater awareness of what’s happening in my life especially if I am reading a book that connects with me.

Things that I did to deepen my learning

Spend time to reflect on what I wrote down to draw lessons from my personal life. This helps me to internalize what I have learnt to appreciate it better and come up with solutions to the issues that I might be facing in my life.

Share what I have learnt with my loved ones and close friends who will not judge me.

Final Thought

As long as you can apply one idea from the book that can make a positive difference to your life, it is paid for.

Edmund Yeo

Edmund Yeo is the owner and editor of Learn more about him here and follow him on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

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