How To Read Books Quickly

Lifehacker posted a compelling “tip” today on how to get through your stack of books in the “to read” stack.


Read books quickly: Do you want to learn what the latest bestsellers are saying, but can’t commit the few days it would take to read the whole thing? Follow this technique to get through a book fast, while still understanding the key points.

  • Read the table of contents, glossary and index first. With that you will learn about the most important topics are in the book.
  • Next, go through the book and read anything in bold, any titles and any subtitles. That will give you a good idea of the structure and the main ideas of the book.
  • Finally, read the first line of every paragraph of the book. This will get you all of the specific points and none of the filler.

With that technique, “reading” a business book shouldn’t take more than an hour and you will be able to refer to it in your conversations and implement some of its ideas. If something is really interesting to you, you can read deeper into that section of the book to find out more.”

I will test this out tonight with a new addition to my stack – “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss and let provide an assessment. My fear is that sometimes the most interesting “sound bites” (for lack of a better description) lie deep in paragraphs – something I would not want to miss out on and would argue are critical components to grasping holistic context.

This takes me back to Gross Anatomy – remember that flick? His technique for getting through med school was reading things in bold – 80% of the tests. If this method works for biz books, it could be a neat cocktail party trick. We shall see.

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