Jurgen Appelo wrote a great Article about his new strategy to read books in a parallel and non-sequential way. He uses sticky notes to mark the chapters he read in a book, thereby allowing him to read the most important unread chapter whenever he wants to read.

I like the concept, but it does not work for me. I read in a lot of different places and I read about 2-5 books or magazines in parallel most of the time. I do not want to carry those around all the time. In fact I read so many things in parallel because I don't want to carry the books around. Instead I try to have a book at every place where I might want to read. One in the bed room, one in the bath, one in the living room, one at the office at LINEAS and one at the desk at the customer for the lunch breaks. And last night I had to buy a new one because I was traveling by train and hadn't a book yet for that place.

No matter if you are more like jurgen or more like me, or if you are one of these weird people that read one book at a time: Use Tools for Reading. At least when you are reading in order to learn something, you should use the following tools:

  1. a transparent ruler. Hold it under the current line. It will prevent you from loosing the line, and thereby enables faster reading. If a ruler is not available, a pen or a sheet of paper might work as well.
  2. a pen. Put down notes. Put them on the margin of the book if you like or on post its, or on a seperate sheet of paper. Whatever, in my experience taking down notes, writing a short summary on after every chapter is the single most effective thing to prevent information to fall out of your ears, while you take it in through the eyes.

Reading is such an important thing, there really should be more discussion about how we do it. So what are your reading tips?


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