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10 Steps to read super fast and more effectively

Effective Reading Cheat Sheet

10 Steps to read faster and more effectively

The cheat sheet below gives a snapshot of the process I use to read non-fiction books in general and also to write the book summaries over at JUSTGOGREAT. To get the most from it, and for a more in-depth guide to effective reading, I highly recommend this summary of Adler and Van Doren’s How to Read a Book.

ASK – What am I hoping to learn? Output: List of questions to answer.

1. Research – Find and triage books with reading lists, recommendations and reviews.
2. Scan – The cover, publisher’s blurb, title, contents and index.

ASK – How well does this book answer my questions? Decision: Skim / don’t skim.

3. Skim – Preface, chapters (titles, questions and recaps), and last pages of book.
4. Synthesise – What is the book about? (Use no more than 3 sentences)

ASK – Is reading this book worth my time? Decision: Read / don’t read.

5. Read (actively)

  • Set up for success – appropriate energy, good lighting, note taking equipment.
  • Take notes – liberally, in the book (paper) or in an app (digital).
  • Connect ideas – within the book and to other authors.

6. Structure (bullet points)

  • From memory – don’t look at your notes until you have to.
  • Referring to notes – fill in any blanks you’ve missed.

7. Synthesise (long-form)

  • Use your own words – change examples to check for understanding.
  • Picture one person – make your imaginary audience specific.
  • Imagine teaching it in person – keep it concise, interesting and relatable.

8. Memorise

  • Structure first – lists are more easily memorised.
  • Use mnemonics – to get the information into short/mid-term memory.
  • Use spaced repetition– to review the information until it’s in long-term memory.

9. Review

  • Re-visit your summary and/or the book as often as necessary.

10. Repeat

  • Vary topic and/or author depending on overall goals.

And that’s all there is to it!


Suggestions:

See this article if you want to know how productive you are.

Or, you can read this article to learn how to make use of notebooks to lead a successful life.

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