A friend and fellow Agile coach – Jason Cheong-Kee-You – told me about this approach to get more out of books. It is one of those little nuggets that help make every day life go better. Thanks also to Allister McKinnell for starting the chain reaction.
The purpose of this post is to share my key learnings from the book: the goal of reading and how to skim. No effort to represent the whole book.
The Goal of Reading
Adler argues that the goal of reading is to learn and that there are 4 elements that need to be satisfied. Consider the diagram below.
In order to decide what parts of the book you believe, you need to understand what it is suggesting and how that information is supported. As I write, I think about confirmation bias and that we need to challenge ourselves to keep our minds open.
Perhaps the most intriguing part is to explicitly think about is: what impact does the book have one you? What are you going to do differently as a result of reading the book?
How to Scan a Book Quickly
It takes time and energy to read and learn from a book. Adler introduces an approach called inspectional reading (systematic skimming or pre-reading) to provide a mechanism to decide if the book is worth reading. The diagram below outlines which bits of a book to focus on.
In 20 or 30 minutes, you can get an idea of what the book is about and what its parts are. Even if you think you are going to read the whole book cover to cover, this is still very valuable in understand the book as a whole.