Did you know that statistics show less than 10% of people who buy a non-fiction book read past the first chapter?
Maybe that’s not shocking to you, but it was to me! Why would someone buy a book and not even get past the first chapter? Most books don’t even offer any valuable knowledge till the middle or end.
Either way you look at it, that’s a problem and I want to share how to read for profit and increase your reading comprehension.
It’s very encouraging to write this post when I look back a few years into my past even to my days as a high-school and college student. I never read, especially not outside of class.
I never was interested in much of the classes or material I was being taught or told to learn, therefore I never gave much effort as a student. I obviously wasn’t aware of the practical value of reading.
Funny thing is, three years ago I was introduced to personal development and self-education and my life has never been the same.
I realized that learning and education does not end after a college degree or certain amount of years in school.
It’s a lifelong process.
“Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
In today’s fast paced world, information is present everywhere. We can learn anything we want with a single search on Google.
But even with the internet, one of the best avenues to learn useful knowledge is from books. I read no less than one hour per day from a book i’ve chosen. Subject matter that I want to learn more about, and I use a few simple strategies to profit the most out of my reading.
And by profit I mean to gain valuable understanding on a subject that you can immediately apply to your daily life and in turn improve a certain area. It may be how to better control your finances, how to increase your reading comprehension or the values of owning your own business.
Reading isn’t just meant to learn a few facts about history or regurgitate information to pass a test like we were taught in school.
The true point of reading from my view is to increase our ability to understand more about life in general, or increase our skill in a certain area. In a sense, to profit from our reading.
How do you accomplish this?
Well first off, read past the first chapter.. That’s a great start!
But besides that, I use these four specific strategies to get the most out of a book and increase my understanding effectively.
#1- Read the Title, Table of Contents, Preface, Introduction and Index to Gather Valuable Insight into Structure of the Work
- This is a vital first step that many people miss when reading. Taking the short amount of time to read through these will help you better understand how the book is laid out, the authors main arguments and what the book is about as a whole. It helps to gather some crucial thoughts before beginning.
#2- Ask Yourself Important Questions About The Book
- After you’ve perused the parts and have a brief understanding of the author’s main issues or suggestions, it’s very helpful to ask some questions about the work and what you want to get out of reading it.
- Questions like, What will the author try to prove? What is the books main concern? What can I learn from this book? How can I put the authors suggestions into action?
- Asking and answering these questions will put you in a prime position to begin reading.
#3- Read Book One Full-Time Through
- If you truly want to read for profit, the first read should always be quick, and little time should be taken to stop and try to understand it fully. I know this sounds like opposite advice from what i’ve talked about, but it’s a part of the process.
- Quickly read through the book as fast as possible, only underlining important sentences or marking favorite sentences/paragraphs for future reference.
#4- Read Normally, Paying Closer Attention To Specifics
- The second read is where the true magic happens. If you’ve completed the previous three steps you will have a broad understanding of the work, the author’s point of view and be ready to fully digest the book.
- The most profit and understanding will come from this second reading. Take more time to re-read certain parts that give you trouble and ask questions about the meaning. Use the dictionary and other resources to fully comprehend the author.
After you’ve completed all of these steps, you should have a better understanding and be able to think of some action steps for application, which is the final step.
I always write down three to five ways I can immediately apply this information to my life in a practical way. That’s how to read for profit, put the knowledge into ACTION!
Remember, being well-read is much more rewarding than being widely read. You can read as many books as you like, but if you don’t know how to effectively understand them it won’t do you any good.
Reading to understand is a skill. Practice accordingly.
Knowledge is only potential power. Information must be applied to make a lasting effect on the quality of our lives!