You will already probably know the importance of reading books as part of your personal and business development journey. Many of the business ‘gurus’ tell us we should be reading one book a week at least if we want to be successful. This is either daunting or exciting depending on where you are coming from, or whether you have learnt speed reading or not. But how do you actually read your books, and how might this process in itself affect your success? Here’s my top ten pointers to successful learning from books, discovered over the years:
1. Have more than one on the go, on different topics, so you can pick up whichever one matches your mood at the time.
2. Write in them! Yes – have a marker pen handy always, so you can underline, make comments, and even longer notes in the back. These will be very useful when you come back to re-reading them. (If you come from the school of thought which says never mark a book, then try using a pencil instead).
3. Never read a business book last thing at night. At best, you won’t remember in the morning what you’ve read, and at worst, it will keep you awake! Always have a selection by your bed if that is where you read; but choose a novel to read just before you go off to sleep (this is also the one you read when you are having time off from work.)
4. You don’t have to finish a book. Who said you had to? The pleasure in reading is the journey, as you’ve probably noticed when you are reading a great story and you don’t want it to finish. Similarly, you don’t have to begin at the beginning – you can dip in and out; read the end first; move backwards and forwards through the book. You can read it in anyway you like.
5. You don’t have to remember everything you read – what you need to know in the moment will stay, and you will be inspired to look at that book again when you need more information from it.
6. Re-read your highlights after you have finished your book. Or share them with your partner or a friend. This way you are benefitting from repetition, which is the most powerful way to learn.
7. Pay attention when you find a book coming your way from 3 different sources; it probably means it is meant for you!
8. Come to each book you read with the certain knowledge that you will find in this book exactly what you want at that particular moment in your life.
9. If you write articles, keep a notebook handy or a computer file for useful quotes from the books you are reading. Organise this so it’s easy to find them.
10. Re-reading a few brilliant books over and over is likely to be more effective than continually reading one after another thinking you have to get to the end and then you’ll know the gem you’ve been looking for. Trust me – I’ve done it and have the library to show for it!