Smart Reading: a guide to getting more out of books (PDF)

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Smart Reading: a guide to getting more out of books (PDF)

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Note: Both ebooks are free for patrons of this site.

We are, as humans, losing the ability to read. 140 character jokes and 9-second videos have eroded our ability to focus. We look to our media for a quick hit of entertainment, not a challenge or a lesson. But the internet isn’t entirely to blame.

Our education system is flawed in its approach to teaching literacy.

We’re taught how to sound out words, but not how to relate to and understand them. We’re taught that there is a list of classics everyone needs to read, not how to find books that make our eyes light up.

We’re taught how to memorise passages to pass an exam, not how to carry the lessons they can teach with us for life. We’re taught to analyse books, not to use them as a tool for examining who we really are.

The result is that many of us leave school without much enthusiasm for books or even with a hatred for them. And that is an enormous loss.

When I first started writing about books and reading, the response was overwhelming - more so than any other topic.

I heard from numerous people who said they simply couldn’t focus on a book and ended up checking Twitter after a few lines. That even when they did read, they couldn’t remember any of it afterwards. That they wanted to read but didn’t enjoy it. That they couldn’t find the time for reading. Some even asked me what the point of reading is when book summaries exist.

As odd as it sounds, I simply hadn’t noticed that most people don’t share my perspective on books. To me, reading is as essential as brushing my teeth or drinking coffee in the morning. It’s just what I do, every day, without fail. It’s the foundation of my career. It’s how I unwind, how I learn, how I grow, how I connect with people and how I make sense of the world.  Most of my life has been a process of figuring out how I can spend the maximum possible time each day reading.

This short ebook is a compilation of everything I’ve learned from 15 years of devoting every available moment to reading, written over the course of the last few years. It’s a guide to smart reading, covering topics including:

  • Reading more efficiently.

  • Remembering what you read.

  • Taking notes on the books you read.

  • Choosing the right books.

  • Improving your attention span and ability to focus.

  • Buying books on a budget.

And more. You won’t find any hacks or magic bullets or mentions of speed reading (which doesn’t work.)

I have written this for anyone who wants to read more but finds it difficult. Or for anyone who feels they are ‘bad’ at reading; too slow, too forgetful, too indecisive.

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