How to efficiently read a book - My way

One of my favorite ways to spend my free time is by reading books. I read mostly scientific books, nevertheless novels are also welcome from time to time.

Through the years of reading, I found a ritual that really helps me remember the most interesting facts and passages of each book and quickly find information from a book when I want to refresh my memory about a topic.

Here are the steps that I follow:

How to know if a book is the right pick for you?

At the beginning of your “reading”-career this question is not very important. Grab a book based on its reviews, do the same for the next five or six books and by that time you will know what types of books you like and which subject is your favorite. Important at this phase is to be determined to read the book till the end and on the next one you can adapt, if you did not like the current one.

The first read of the book

I start reading the book and every passage that I find interesting I mark it with a marker. If the passage is more than 5 rows, I do a vertical row near the rows. If the topic I just read is very interesting to me, I mark it and I do an extra star close to the marked rows.

I read the book till the end and now its time for the second step.

The second and quicker read of the book

I start again from the beginning and now I am reading only the marked rows from step number one. While reading them I am actively thinking if this information continues to be important for me. If no, then I move on to the next marked section of the book.

Write down the most important stuff of the book

If I continue to find the information important, then I take my pencil or pen, open the first page of the book and write down the marked passage on it, as compact as I can. It can be the exact same words as on the book or my own interpretation. I start by writing the information on the inner part of the cover page and if I fill this whole space, I continue with the first page of the book. Most of the times, the first pages on books are empty or at least half empty, so they are going to be enough space to cover all the marked information which is important for you.

The advantages of this 3-step method

Having the important information of a book physically together with the book itself, is a great way of finding this information on the future, fast and reliable. You just open the first page of the book and after a quick scan of the information top to bottom, you find what you were looking for.

Apart from that, in an era of technology, doing some handwriting work improves your skills on writing and remembering the correct spelling and orthography of words. Your hand and fingers retain the ability to hold and use a pen and write down words and phrases in a structured way.

Bonus: What to do if the book is not going to take a spot on your library

It can happen and it happens a lot. The book you just read is not a book that you found interesting, inspirational or motivating. You are not going to read this book again and you know it. For these types of books I have a separate notebook where I can write down the marked passages. On top of the page I write the title of the book and its author. Most of the times, the marked parts are only a few rows, 20 maybe 30. After that, I am giving the book away or to a good friend.

You can find a video I made about this topic on my Youtube channel.

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