How to Get the Most Out of Reading A Book

I recently came across an old article titled, “The Simple Truth Behind Reading 200 Books a Year.”  Many of you know I’m an avid reader and podcast listener, so the title grabbed my attention.

The author cogently explains how we can easily find time to read 200 books a year.  But, I think he completely misses the point by focusing on the quantity of what we read.  Checking a book off a list does not make us smarter or even mean we learned anything.  The question shouldn’t be: “How many books did you read this year?”  The better question is: “What knowledge and understanding did you get from your reading?”

So the next time you crack open a book, try the ideas that I use to help me get the most from what I’m reading:

  1. I read a lot of business books (much to the consternation of my wife who thinks I should be reading more fiction books to not always be “on”).  Because I read books on my iPad using the Kindle app, I can easily highlight finger passages I want to review later.  I can also add notes or thoughts to specific sections.
  2. When I finish the book, I print off the highlighted sections and my notes, using the Bookcision app.  And there’s more.  After printing off my highlights and my notes, I re-read them, highlight important sections, and write comments in the margin with ideas on how to use this information.
  3. It’s this last tactic that has made all the difference in the world for me.  After re-reading the hi-lighted passages and my notes, I take two or three of the most relevant pieces of information and try to apply them in my business or personal life.  Only after I’ve done this, do I feel like I’ve really fully understood what I read, and gotten full value out of the book.

While the goal of reading 200 books may be admirable, your real goal should be to read with a specific process to retain the information and gain knowledge so that you can put into practice what you have read.

What books have you learned the most from so far in 2019? What is on your reading list for the rest of 2019?