“I need a year or two to read through all the books from the must-read list” – have you ever had such thoughts? I guess you have. Reading book summaries, one can doubt “What if I miss something important? How much can I trust someone’s summary? “This article shares several tips on how to boost your productivity and to benefit from reading business books. In addition, it describes a new interactive summary format, which allows you to read faster, saving some time without missing important knowledge.
How to Read Business Books? Checklist
Normally we read business books not for pleasure, but to learn something new, e.g. a recipe for success, life-changing solution or solver for a specific task.
- Set a goal. The book is a tool which assists you in solving your tasks. If there is no clear goal, your knowledge is just good for nothing for your business and day-to-day routine.
- Carefully select books to read. Define criteria, for example, a high reader rating at goodreads.com or personal recommendations of entrepreneurs.
- Write out key book ideas/insights. Add your own examples and observations. Such a “conversation” with the author will allow you to better understand the meaning of the contents and how you can use these ideas in your life.
- Create your own templates and to-dos. Convert key book ideas into step-by-step plans for solving the initial task. You will be able to puzzle out the problem as well as get ready-made “here and now” templates for solving problems.
- Regularly recall key ideas and your own notes. This will allow you to recall key points and apply them to new conditions. Recall key points several times to retain them in your memory.
You can follow these tips when reading a book or book summaries. The effect will not be long in coming, since this approach is based on conscious reading and processing the knowledge, and not on just “swallowing” information.
“If you want to learn something, teach it to others”
If our brain knows that we have to teach someone, it can be perceived as a stress situation associated with leaving the comfort zone. This will serve as an additional incentive to better prepare and analyze the key theses and re-process their meanings.
In reality, everything is much simpler. Just do one-two-three as follows below:
- One. Take the key ideas that you wrote out while reading a book.
- Two. Make up a short story in which the main character utilizes these key ideas. Make sure the key ideas you want to keep in your mind are integrated with the plot thread.
- Three. Tell your story to your colleagues over coffee 🙂 at the same time you can boost your storytelling skills. Make a small quiz out of your story, providing different behavior models at every step of the story. Let your colleagues guess, and you will explain how best to proceed based on the ideas distilled from the books.
By the way, Michael Michalko, author of the world-famous bestseller Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques suggests writing out the key ideas and then discussing them in a team: “You have to record your own ideas, as, so far as I know, there is no store that sells Cliffs Notes on your past thoughts”.
What is an interactive summary?
Simply speaking, this is a perfect solution if it can be found in one or few business books. In the interactive summary the key theses derived from business books are subdivided into short articles with examples, images and quizzes. This approach will help you get a sense of the key ideas in just 5-10-15 minutes.
But the main feature of the interactive summary is a life story. In a life story, you together with the main character plunge into a business situation. You can choose the main character’s action at every step of the story and get a comment on what such a choice can lead to and why.
Moreover, each book is supplemented with templates that can be applied straight away in a real-life situation.
- It is not enough just to read business books in order to derive knowledge from them. You need to work with a book starting from the selection stage, and to regularly rethink the notes derived from the books.
- In order to comprehend the ideas of the book, make up a story and share it with your associates.
- Interactive summary can be really helpful if you don’t have time to read the whole book. We need both the knowledge and the tools that can be used “here and now”.