Getting the Most Out of a Book

If you've been here ANY amount of time you know I'm big on self-improvement and people reading books to improve yourself career-wise (and of course personally and otherwise).

Just because you're reading it doesn't mean you're applying it to your life.  Sure some ideas may stick in your head, but even a really great book isn't fully used if you don't sit down and use it deliberately.

Now as I am always encouraging people to read up (as you can see by the book reviews), here's a few tips on how to make sure you get the most out of a book:

  • Keep shelves for your specific book subjects.  That way when you put a book back (or take one out) you'll be reminded of what you read in the past.
  • When you finish a good book, take an hour or two to sit down with it and review what you want to do with the knowledge there.  Add it to your schedule, notes, what have you.
  • Keep a to-read pile so you can think ahead on what you're reading.  This lets you anticipate what's coming up (and can re-remind you).
  • Go through your shelves and determine what books to keep and what to sell at used-book stores regularly.  This lets you really review what you want to keep and why – and also ensures what's on your shelf is a keeper.
  • Make a point of it, now and then, to go through your old books and reread important ones – even put them back in your to-read pile.
  • Make sure you keep a notebook with you (as I often recommend to do constantly) so when you read and see a great idea, you can write it down for later.

A good book engages with you.  If you want to get the most out of it you have to engage right back.

– Steven Savage