Let’s focus on improving the reading that we do. My goal each year is to read around 100 books. But the bigger goal is not the number, but, to learn and keep the great nuggets from those books.
Rudi Guliani wrote in his in his book, “Leadership”, that “great leaders lead by ideas”. I have experienced how great ideas from books have helped me develop my leadership over the years. Books are an accumulation of years of life lessons gleaned from the author. Those years are conveniently bound in each book for the use of developing others who will have a systematic process to harvest the nuggets.
That is what I want to lay out today for you, my process for book nugget harvesting. This is not the only way, it is only, my way.
To read and digest a book I now use the following process:
When selecting a book it’s important to remember the impact that a book can have on your life. It’s necessary to choose the books you read wisely. The books you read must be worth the investment of your time and energy. Some of the criteria I use when selecting a book to invest my time and energy in are:
• First, based upon what do I need to learn or develop, given where I am in my personal journey.
• I select books from authors that have already affected my life and I connect with. Authors like, John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, Carey Nieuwhof, Posner and Kouzes, etc.
• Books that will help me grow in areas critical to my role.
• Using Goodreads and Amazon for recommendations from friends.
• Key subject areas I’m interested in. Some would be, leadership, communication, task management, technology, and strategy. I do not read books just because they are popular or make the bestseller lists. My time is valuable and so reading a book is an investment of my time from which I expect a return!
The best productive reading environment for me happens when:
• I remove all distractions!! Humans cannot multitask. Multitasking is worse than a lie.
• Have a regular place to read. I enjoy what Steve from Blues Clues does, he has a “Thinking Chair” that he uses.
Keep in mind your primary purpose for reading, to grow and learn. This requires focus and concentration.
Be an active reader
Being an active reader you need to engage with the book. Better to read a book in many short sessions, and not in a single sitting. Other ways to be an active reader:
• Use a highlighter, or a pen to underline.
• Using a pen or pencil to make notes in the margin.
• Use Evernote to take notes and pictures of marked up pages.
Actively reading keeps you focused and helps find important concepts for use later on. If I find myself not making several notes or highlighting, it usually means, at least for me, that the book is not worth completing and I put it aside.
There is part one of my process. I’ll post the rest of my process later, but, I’m very interested in hearing if you have a process, what is it?
Do you see how important it is to set yourself up wisely for the best reading experience? Don’t hold back creating a process for better reading for yourself.