Tag Archives: how to read a book

How to read a useful book

In school I always felt guilty if I skipped one sentence in a reading assignment. Books must be read in their entirety.  I got the message.  Too bad it was the wrong lesson.

In a college class I only needed to get two answers right on an extra credit test about a book to convert my grade to a solid “A”.  There were 10 questions.  I picked up the book and looked at the cover.  I realized I had heard a review of the book and its contrarian theme the week before.  I decided to take the test without ever opening the book.  I got 6 questions right. It was an easy “A”.

Did I cheat?  No!  I knew the author’s bias.  I knew what he would say about historical events.  I didn’t even need the “Cliff Notes” to get what I needed out of the book.  I only needed two correct test answers for an “A”.

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read. (G.K. Chesterton)

You are out of school. Now you need to learn for a living.  You need to learn things that will help you financially.  You need to be effective and efficient. Your next pay raise depends on it.

Before you read a book, read the cover and intro.  Read the table of contents.  If you are not sure you will get much out of the book, read the first and last paragraph of each chapter.  Look at any charts or illustrations.  Go back and only read the chapters that you will learn the most from.  Don’t be afraid to use your time wisely.

Time is a precious commodity.  Every hour you spend learning about your career will pay off in the long run.  Spending those hours carefully will give you a much greater reward than slogging through books that aren’t really going to help you.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of books that will help your career.  Get the first one today.  Preview it.  Read the book, or the parts of it that you can learn from.


Tomorrow:     Politics (is networking)

Later:              Short term rewards

What motivates me

Waiting for the “help wanted” sign