How to read books faster and more efficiently?
Man Reading Book and Sitting on Bookshelf in Library

How to read books faster and more efficiently?

Have you ever tried reading a book? How was the experience? How much time did you take to finish it? Or did you even finish it?

Books- The sleeping pills

Around 3 years ago, I decided to start reading- books on self-development, self-growth; to teach myself some things and build a mindset. But how? It sounded great in my head, to imagine all these things, but reality was something else. It was nearly impossible for me to read books. I had read around 4-5 books(fiction, Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl) earlier in my childhood, but I clearly remember, it took me 1.5-2 months to finish a book (if I ever did) and books were the best sleeping pills I could ever get my hands on. If I just lied down and close my eyes, maybe it’ll take a while for me to fall asleep. But, if was reading, only 3-4 pages did wonders, boom, there I was- slipped into a deeeeeeep relaxing sleep.

Sleeping while reading

But now, I can easily finish a 200page book within 3-4hours (or sometimes even faster). Even if I am feeling sleepy or bored and I start reading, it all goes away.

How did this happen? Let’s see

NOTE: First 2 points will help you select a book to read and later points will help you gain speed.

First book is usually the one that imprints on your mind. Its effect on our mindset is unmatched. It plays the most important role in directing our path. So, choose the first book carefully. If the first book is interesting, you will be willing to read more. You won’t have to force yourself ever again through the book reading process.

It is simple- ‘First impression matters a lot.’

My first book was- ‘Monk who sold his Ferrari’ in which Robin Sharma has focused a bit on reading, which seriously had some impact. It was one of the biggest reason why I decided to continue reading more books.

2. Summary and reviews- Titles can be deceptive

Search for a short summary & reviews on the internet. It helps in understanding what you will be learning from the book, if it interests you at the moment or not? Summary provides you the insight of the direction this book will lead you in. Reviews are important as they tell you about the experiences of the readers; tell you about how much of your expectations will be fulfilled. But remember- They are not the deciding factor, as everyone has their own perspective.

I once selected a biz book. It had an appealing summary. The reviews were giving an extremely positive image. That book was the international bestseller and one of the top 10 books many entrepreneurs suggest. But, I never completed that book. Because it didn’t interest me. I read around 50-80 pages and then I decided to stop reading. It’s ok. Completing a book is not a compulsion. If you do not like it, if you feel it’s not worth a read, just stop reading it.

Thus reviews are just to make up your mind to read. They are not the deciding factor. So don’t spend more than 5minutes on this point while selecting a book.

3. The table of contents & Introduction- The most underrated parts of a book.

Most of the readers tend to skip these parts of a book and directly go to Chapter 1. Well, they play a crucial role in increasing your reading speed.

Index is the map of a book. It tells you how the book is structured, how the content flows? Which content is the one you are looking for, the one that needs attentive reading and parts you can pass on by just having a quick glance. This basically acts as a plan which can help you go fast because you know where you are headed. What happens when you skip this part is, you are blindfolded- you just keep reading. You waste energy in reading the parts which can otherwise be skipped or flicked through.

Introduction gives us an idea about the writing style and how the things are put up. It gives an idea about how to understand the book better. Sometimes it starts with a story, of which references are taken in various parts of the book.

4. Picking up a pace

Initially it’d be slow. It will take about 1-2 weeks to finish a book. Fix daily goals (Read 30-40pages daily, or 30minutes daily with full concentration). As you’ll read more books, you’ll create a routine, a habit or a desire to learn more. You’ll get used to the steps mentioned above. You’ll have more idea about how to read books, how content flows and thus you’ll know when to go fast and when to slow down.

After some books, there will come a point when you will understand what the author wants to say just by reading a few lines of the paragraph and thus you can go through quickly. This happens because, as you read more books, you get familiar with the concepts, the theories, etc. and thus can grasp things faster and more accurately.

5. A summary of your own- How to utilize a book to its full potential?

You’ve read a book. That’s good. But, what good will it be if you won’t figure out what you have learned from it? If you will not use what you have learned from it? If you are not learning and more importantly, if you are not practicing what you just learned- It’s all a waste of time.

Once, you’ve completed the book. Write a short summary of 1-2 pages about what you learned from the book and for a moment, think how you can use them to improve yourself? How will you put those teachings in practice?

Secret to read one book a day- There’s no such secret. All that matters is practice and familiarity with the terminology and concepts. Understanding things better. Start slowly, learn things; within a few months you’ll find yourself reading a book per week, then two books a week. Then you’ll notice you can read a book in a day. And believe me, the confidence it gives is immense.

All the best! Keep reading. Keep growing.

ZONING OUT

I sometimes read 60pages in an hour and sometimes all I can read is 4-5 pages in an hour? Because books are all about learning. If I am familiar with the content, or thought about it earlier, I’ll just move ahead quickly. But if some new concept pops up, or the writer’s style forces me to think (or question things), I may zone out. I don’t know how long I’ll just keep thinking about it, decoding the mystery. But one thing is sure, when I snap out of it; I’d have learned something new, made some new concepts in my mind and obviously improved myself.

So, don’t just focus on finishing the book. Focus on LEARING things. Zone out often. Let the book take time.

QUANTITY OR QUALITY?

Only one out of the five or six books that I read truly excites me. Force me to question things, explore them, and make new concepts. The remaining 4-5 books are not waste of time, they also teach things, motivate me, but not to the level which that one book does.

So, once you pick up speed, just keep reading. Read anything that catches your eye. You’ll learn things, learn more about yourself, change you, improve you, help you find your interests, set and achieve goals and open up a world of opportunities.

Resources

You can check out BOOKS where i have mentioned some books which can become your first books and some books for regular readers as well. I keep on updating it as i come across new books which deserve to be there. So, keep checking it every once in a while to get suggestions for a new book. 

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Archit Sahu

Archit is currently operating a business, working on setting up passive income sources and running a blog to share his experiences and help out other hustlers. He cannot help out everyone obviously and thus he started a forum on his website where everyone can find help from other hustlers around the world.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Never thought of a book in this way?
    It’s good to know that books too can be interesting.. great article.. keep writing

    1. Thanks for the thumbs up 🙂

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