Five Steps That Make It Easier To Skim Through Non-Fiction Books

Five Steps that Make It Easier to Skim Through Non-Fiction Books

Whether you're reading a non-fiction book for school or for fun, it's pretty common to want to breeze through them quickly. Non-fiction book aren't typically structured like fiction books, and as the Harvard Business Review points out, they're much easier to skim if you want to. Here's how HBR suggests you do it. Photo by miss_millions.

The thought here is basically skim with intention, an idea we've mentioned before. Obviously, you're not going to get the full set of information this way, but it's a good way to cruise through a book when you have to:

  1. Start with the author. Who wrote the book? Read his or her bio. If you can find a brief interview or article online about the author, read that quickly. It will give you a sense of the person's bias and perspective.
  2. Read the title, the subtitle, the front flap, and the table of contents. What's the big-picture argument of the book? How is that argument laid out...
  3. Read the introduction and the conclusion. The author makes their case in the opening and closing argument of the book. Read these two sections word for word but quickly...
  4. Read/skim each chapter. Read the title and anywhere from the first few paragraphs to the first few pages of the chapter to figure out how the author is using this chapter and where it fits into the argument of the book...
  5. End with the table of contents again. Once you've finished the book, return to the table of contents and summarize it in your head...

It's a pretty simple plan. Personally, I'd add that if you have the time to read, only skim through the chapters that don't interest you. With non-fiction, it's rarely a problem to ditch entire chapters when they aren't appealing to you. Doing so can also help keep your interest level high enough that you'll continue to enjoy reading, which is what really matters. Head over to Harvard Business Review for more details.

How to Read a Book a Week [Harvard Business Review]


Comments

    Read the title? That's asking a bit much!

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