Getting the Most Out of Non-Fiction Books

In order to get more out of each reading, you need to first understand why you want to read the book you have chosen. What is your motivation?

  • Does the topic interest you?
  • Is it something that inspires you?
  • Because it is a best-seller
  • The cover caught your eye
  • Someone recommended it
  • You want to learn something new
  • For entertainment purposes
  • To meet your target reading goal

Understanding your why will influence how you approach the book and how much you enjoy the process. It would be best to read and continuing reading a book because you love and enjoy it. If not the process will be more tedious and you will have to expend a lot more will power to get through the book. This can leave you with feelings of dissatisfaction after completing the book.

If you find yourself reading a book and it no longer interests you or inspires you, STOP. Try another book based on the same topic, if you still want to learn about it. Maybe a different author will engage you more. Consider watching a video or listening to a podcast on your topic of interest. Reading should be enjoyable.

Tips before starting a new book: 

  • Watch a video or listen to a podcast on your topic of interest so you have a general idea on the basic concepts. You will gain insights into the author’s writing style and general ideas of the book. This help you decide whether you want to read about this topic without wasting too much time and money investing in that book.
  • Skim the book and highlight the relevant sections of the book that you want to focus on while reading.

Tips while reading:

  • Use your fingers as a tool to read faster. Move your finger across the page to get your eyes and mind to absorb the information faster. Note, you do not need to read every word to understand each sentence.
  • Focus on the first and last three lines of each paragraph to grasp the main points. If further information is needed go back and read the whole paragraph.

After reading: 

Use this 4S Formula and take note of the following information gathered from the book to make what you learn more memorable:

  • a story that moved you 
  • a statistic that surprised you
  • a quote or valuable  information that you want to share
  • an action or habit you want to start

This will be more effective if done after each chapter.

Remember you do not need to read each book cover to cover. However, these tips will enable you to grasp the main concepts of each book. Then you can use that information to decide if the book is worth reading from cover to cover at another time.

Thank you for reading.


3 Replies to “Getting the Most Out of Non-Fiction Books”

  1. After reading a lot of fiction I decided to expand my library to non-fiction books too. However it has been a tough endeavour so far. Often I find myself wanting to finish a large quantity of books with the urge to constantly move onto the next one rather than enjoy the process of reading. The 4S formula is an approach I will definitely employ for next time along with your other helpful tips.
    Great read again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This happens to me too. There is just so much books I want to read and things I want to learn that I find myself wanting to speed through it. Besides the 4S method, writing book reviews also helps me to absorb the information since you have to summary the contents in your own words and give a rating and reason why you liked or disliked the book. Though writing reviews is another set of work.
      Thank you for reading and sharing.


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