- Scott H Young - https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog -

Beyond Speed – How to Read Smart

After writing my popular article on speed reading [1], I received a lot of comments from people who wanted to read faster. But reading faster isn’t the whole picture. If you want to get more information with less time, you can’t just pick up the pace. You need to read smart.

If I gave you several thousand pages worth of books on a type of snail in the South Pacific and you read it quickly, does that leave you better off? Unless you are a marine biologist with an interest in mollusks reading those thousand pages was probably a waste of time. It doesn’t matter how fast you can read if you aren’t reading anything important.

Here are some methods I’ve found when buying books to help eliminate the junk and read smart:

But how you get books is really the least important aspect of reading smart. I’ve read few books I could say were complete crap. Most had at least a few interesting ideas. The best had great ideas densely packed into the pages and the worst had one or two within three hundred pages of noise.

The first way to start reading smart is to start cutting out garbage. Remember, time is short, information is limitless – read what you need. Here are some tips I use to cut down on the amount I read while preserving the best information:

The second way to read smart is to utilize the information you want. You’ve spent a lot of effort filtering out the junk, you might as well use the gems. Here are some tips I use to help emphasize good ideas:

These techniques for reading apply mostly for non-fiction. If you just want to read a book to be entertained, don’t worry about highlighters and skipping chapters. But if you are reading a book because you want the information it contains, don’t just read fast, read smart.

Image courtesy of flickr [3].

If you liked this article, help me spread the word with a Digg [4]!