Reading, in and of itself, is very unique. The art of reading is not to be underestimated. Most people can get a book that is going to be very beneficial to them but they probably get less than 50% worth of info out of it, not because they’re not good with retention skills, but actually because they do not take note of every aspect of the book.
This is an extremely important part of a book because it tells you, not only what the book is about, but also what to expect from it. Concerning the latter point, that is, in fact the right way to read the summary. It’s not so much about wanting to find out what the book covers that helps as much as it is understanding why the book was written. While there is nothing wrong with trying to find out what it is about, that should only be practiced for browsing purposes. Once you decide to read the book, read the summary again with the intent to find out what you can expect from the author. It seems obvious to do that but you would be surprised as to how many people miss valuable information before they start because they don’t shift their mind from “what is this about?” to “what am I about to learn?” The latter question implies a more active mindset.
This is so simple that it is so often misunderstood! There’s nothing worse than being lost a few pages into a book because you did not take careful note of the title. If it grips you and you get the book, remember the title each step of the way. As you read you can then ask, “What does this have to do with (title)?” Challenge the author. Most people get bored quickly and put books down, not only because of reading too slowly, but they forget why they picked up the book in the first place! They don’t follow where the author leads. It really is very sad.
Table of contents
This is as equally as important as the title and the summary. Authors take a great deal of time putting the table of contents together. This is because the structure of the book is outlined right here. Most people get confused as to why some points are made in the book or they could also completely miss a good point because they don’t have an idea where the author is both coming from and where they are going. Bottom line, read the table of contents to understand the structure of the book and be able to begin following the author.
This is in no way negative at all! In fact it is a vital element. It has to do with reading entirely through the book even if you don’t understand some words and sentences. This is so crucial because getting a good understanding of the author’s perspective will help you make an informed decision on whether or not you agree on the matter. Before you get to that point, though, you need to go through a full process of one straight reading from beginning to end. After that you’re second run through gets to be more accurate as you’re in a position to criticize the author by analyzing various elements of the subject in certain paragraphs, phrases and sentences, and see if they compliment the original idea, that is, what’s written in the title.
When you pick up a book, read the summary with the intent to find out what the author is trying to teach or show you. Keep the title in mind as you read through so that you remember what the author’s original idea was and through that you can find out the purpose for the book on a deeper level. Read the table of contents in order to understand the direction the book is going. Finally read through the entire book in one go (as often as possible) so as to acknowledge the overall lesson/message.
NB: Do not assume these steps are for study purposes! Even pleasurable reading can be beneficial when these steps are practiced, probably a lot more than when they are not! Before reaching a conclusion about that, try these out and take note of the difference. They’re actually very simple.