When it comes to reading fiction and non-fiction, the approach we take can actually vary greatly. With fiction, we’re more likely to be gripped by the story and this makes reading simple. On the other hand, lots of people find non-fiction harder. We aren’t saying that non-fiction books can’t be compelling but reading these types of books requires a little more thought. Without it, we lose interest in the topic and it goes unfinished. In this blog-post, we will share with and discuss with you…”How to Read a Non-Fiction Book Effectively“.
Elsewhere, some people finish a non-fiction book, put it down, and can barely recall a single detail from within the pages. Therefore, these methods and strategies will prevent this and allow you to enter the world of non-fiction with enjoyment (and while learning too!).
1. Understand the Journey.
We find that the best approach to non-fiction reading starts by understanding the journey on which you’re about to embark. With a quick look through the table of contents, you immediately get a map of what’s to come. Where does the book start? Where does it lead? How does it get us to the end? Often, this takes away the overwhelming sensation that often comes when starting a non-fiction book.
2. Experiment with Reading Styles.
Before sitting down with your book, think about how you’re going to approach it. For many new readers, they feel as though they need to soak in every single word…but this may not be the case. Especially as far as non-fiction is concerned, you may be better off skimming or scanning. In case you didn’t know, here are the three common reading styles;
- Skimming – Broken down into preview, overview, and review, the idea with skimming is to save time. Rather than paying attention to every word, we look for italics, boldface, indenting, headings, bullet points, and this sort of thing. As long as you’re still noticing key phrases and words, it’s possible to follow the outline of the book.
- Scanning – Often, people use these first two words (skimming and scanning) interchangeably, but this isn’t necessarily correct. While some describe skimming as getting a bird’s eye view of the information, scanning is all about picking up on facts. If we think back to our school days, we would skim passages to look for answers to a specific question. Ultimately, the content you cover depends on your purpose. If you want to cover the whole book, this will take a little longer than just checking one section.
- In-Depth – Of course, the final reading style is where you read to understand every single argument and concept the book offers. Taking your time over every word, this takes the longest and the most concentration too.
If you’re wondering how to read a non-fiction book, pose the question of reading style. Can you scan or skim the words on the page to pick up key ideas? Or do you need to take your time and take it all in?
TEDx Talks | Tai Lopez | Why I read a book a day (and why you should too): the law of 33% |
[Checkout video at 15:00 – 15:43]
3. Highlight Important Sentences and Sections.
Whether you choose to read on a Kindle or the more traditional way with a book, there’s no reason why you can’t highlight specific passages and sentences.
Thankfully, the Kindle has a brilliant highlighter function. If something resonates with you or you find a passage that you want to read again, simply highlight it. If you have a physical book, underline the sentence or buy yourself a highlighter (you can also use small post-it stickers so you know the pages that have highlighted sections in them!). Since you’re the one who creates these highlighted passages, this is obviously the information that you found most useful when reading through.
When the book is finished, we recommend going back over the highlighted sections to really cement the information within. If you go back two years later, the highlighted sections will allow you to remember the topic (and could also act as a gateway to more information in the book).
4. Take Notes.
When asked about the best approach to non-fiction reading, we often have difficulty in answering because we are all unique. For example, we find that some people love to take notes. In fact, they have a special non-fiction notebook filled with their notes on dozens of non-fiction books. By doing this, you write down the most important aspects and you end up with a cheat sheet; hundreds of pages are brought down into a handful.
Not only is note-taking useful when looking back in the future, but it also helps to learn whilst reading. Rather than reading a section on choosing a fishing rod, for example, you’re reading, writing, and often re-reading. When it comes to retaining knowledge from a non-fiction book, there aren’t too many better strategies. Especially when you take information from the book and reword it, you’re ensuring that you understand the topic, before moving on.
5. Write a Review.
As the final tip, in this blog-post, why not write a short review? By doing this, you’re forcing your mind to arrange the ideas and arguments in your head. From here, your review will often contain the most important details. You ingrain the information into your mind, sift through everything you’ve learned, and have a review to read in future years.
6. Other Ideas To Read a Non-Fiction Book more Effectively.
Of course, reading should always be fun, so we recommend finding an approach that works for you. Some find success with;
- Watching/listening to a related podcast or video
- Dog-earing pages
- Sharing information from the book with friends/family/colleagues
- Learning more about the author.
Summary + Takeaways
There we have it, your guide on…”How To Read a Non-Fiction Book Effectively“. Whether you need to learn the information or are just reading for fun, we highly recommend;
- Looking through the table of contents
- Finding your reading style
- Playing around with highlighting and making notes to see what works for you
We hope you have found this blog-post interesting and informative.
Please do, let us know your thoughts and comments. What did you find useful in this post? What reading style do you prefer?.. Of course, feel free to share this post with others who you think, may find it useful.
If you have enjoyed reading this blog-post, you may also enjoy our other posts:
“Why You Should Use Audiobooks..to Read Non-Fiction”
“Why Non-Fiction Is Important For Children And Adults Alike”
Good luck, and don’t forget to have fun along the way!
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