Useful rules for getting the most out of reading

Reading is the fastest way to soak in knowledge and others’ life experiences. Imagine a billionaire who has achieved almost everything. He puts away his business concerns to read a book, hoping to tell his stories, successes and failures. Would you not read it? It takes 1 week to absorb the wisdom he shared in the book. Then there are scientists and economists who publish their findings and applications in different sectors of lives. Should you not right them?

Here are a few rules you can follow to help you maximize the benefits of reading:

1 Curate your sources of reading. Most sources are rubbish. Scan their headlines. That’s sufficient. Don’t spend your time reading CNBC, CNN or even BBC most of the time. Go straight to deeper commentaries on FT, Economist or sector specific journals. Read a lot from top writers on Medium. You will be surprised how many CEOs and successful business people blog on Medium.

2 Use social media for news breakouts, not for learning. Twitter will teach you close to nothing. But Twitter will be the fastest channel to tell you the latest news. I think Facebook is relatively useless. Why would you want to know what happened to your friends? I like Quora. It’s the best way to waste away your time. At least you learn something new/exotic from another part of the world.

3 Books are the most curate form of reading. Read a lot of book reviews. Don’t read to enjoy the writing style. Read to learn. Book reviews will tell you the main points of the book (80%) in under 5% of the time to read the entire book. I read at least 5 book reviews on Blinkist a week. For those titles that seem to deserve a little more time (like Think Fast and Slow), I read the entire book.

4 Journals are also great. I read CFA journals. That’s why I keep up with financial news. CNBC tells me too much for nothing. I used to like Readers’ Digest. But it is now a horrible service apart from the jokes.

In summary, read books, read journals. Record your learnings on Evernote. Reread what you have learnt. And have an amazing life.