Monday, November 29, 2010

Reading 101

Leaders read...
Read to succeed...
Read to lead...

You've probably heard phrases similar to the above. You may agree with them, too - but do you practice them?

They're true.

In his very unique style, here is what noted leadership author and speaker Tom Peters has to say about reading in his book "The Little BIG Things":

Read!
Read Wide!
Surprise Yourself with Your Reading Picks!
Read Deep!
Read Often!
Out-Read the "Competition"!!!
Take Notes!
Summarize!
Share with Others What You Read!

With that spirit, in this week's blog posts I want to: share some reading insights I have learned along the way; look at some great ideas by Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt on reading and note taking; give you my version of the best books for 2010; and make you an offer and a challenge.

How to Read a Book

Literally - that's the name of a classic book by Mortimer Adler.  The first lesson of reading is to learn that you don't need to “read” each book the same way. Here are Adler's 4 levels of reading:
  • Elementary Reading – What does the sentence say?
  • Inspectional Reading – What is the book about?
  • Analytical Reading – What does the book mean?
  • Syntopical Reading – What does a comparison of books on the subject reveal?
Some books are only meant to be read at the first level; others are meant to be digested at some of the other levels. Know which is which!

To get the most out of a book in the least amount of time, try this strategy:
  • Read the title.
  • Read the introduction
  • Read the Table of Contents
  • Flip through the material, scanning the chapter titles and sub-headings. Note the words that stand out as bold, different colors, underlined, or italicized. 
  • Examine the illustrations, captions, charts and diagrams. Read the pull-quotes and sidebars.
  • Scan through the index looking for buzz words that interest you.R
  • Read the first chapter.
  • Flip through the book and read the first sentence of each paragraph. In a well written and edited book, the most important sentence containing the topic is usually the first sentence of the paragraph — but not always. 
  • Read the last chapter. If there is an executive summary, read it.
  • Read any other information on the cover or dust jacket.
If the book captures your attention after doing the above tasks, then by all means dive right in!

The converse is true: if a book doesn't capture your attention after a few attempts, stop reading it. Pick out another one on the topic - there are always more waiting for you!

While the knowledge gained from reading is important, the real benefit is from the habit of reading. When you are continually reading, you condition your mind to keep taking in new knowledge. Your thinking remains fresh and sharp. Your brain is always churning on new ideas, looking for new connections it can make. Every day you pour in more ideas, which your brain must find a way to integrate into your existing knowledge base. Frequent reading fires up your neural activity, even during the periods when you aren't reading.

Reading is a gift that you can unselfishly give yourself, one that truly keeps on giving. Why don’t you bless yourself and those around you by reading a new book this week?

Then share it with someone!



1 comment:

Max Weismann said...

We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery--three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos--lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

Three hours with Mortimer Adler on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are--we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

http://www.thegreatideas.org/HowToReadABook.htm

ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

Thank you,

Max Weismann