How to Read a Business Book

How to Read a Business Book

I love to read. And over the years, I’ve found some shortcuts to get the most out of a book without slogging through the slow parts. Every book has them, at least every business book I can recall reading. If you are in the same boat – you love to learn, to stimulate your mind, to find new ways of looking at things around every page-turning corner, then this is for you.

Try this the next time you pick up a book at the library, scan through at the bookstore or find a “good” book sitting idle for weeks or months at a time, waiting for you to get back to it.

Don’t force yourself to read the whole book unless, of course, you just can’t put it down. My son, Dave got through a double major and a Masters Degree in university by strategically scanning a ton of material, which, if read word for word, might have meant no time left for fitness or family life.

Check out the author’s bio and his or her reason for writing the book. Some helpful, savvy non-fiction writers, in their introduction, wisely suggest how to read their book.

Scan the pages to see how the book is laid out. Some books require a concentrated effort to read. Others are easy to scan because they have illustrations, excerpted passages, and lots of subheads. While you’re at it, take a quick look at the illustrations. If a picture really is worth a thousand words, think of the possibilities!

Study the Table of Contents and the Index of reference material. A good book tells you what it is going to tell you. And a good table of contents allows you to use the book as an easy-to-access resource. The Index provides references for further study should the content of the book intrigue you to do so.

Read first any chapter summaries the author has provided for a quick understanding of the contents. If any of the chapters are particularly interesting to you, the summaries (and the table of contents) help you to prioritize your reading material.

Read the first paragraph or two of a few chapters so you can determine the writer’s style. Is it heavy with research quotes, full of real-life stories, a bit humorous? This will help you determine how much time you might have to invest in reading the entire book, should you choose to do so.

Write down the main points of the book as you scan and/or read it to cement the knowledge you gain from it. A journal (digital or paper) is the best way to capture important ideas and the act of writing itself improves your recall many-fold. Remember those high school book reviews? There was a reason for them.

And finally…

Share your new knowledge. Some business associates and I have formed a Business Book Club and our first book is a workbook of John C. Maxwell’s based on the 2019 book, Leadershift – The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace. I’m finding it a great way to concentrate and start the Law of Attraction process by writing down answers to insightful questions in the workbook, and then discussing those ideas openly with the other participants. Shared insights add value to each of us as participants.

Whether or not that’s a route you take yourself, do share what you’ve learned with at least one other person, as soon as you can. Better yet, teach it. There’s no better way to integrate new knowledge into your mental database.

Related Posts


Share This