How To Use A Book Resource.
Do you think its important to learn this?
I think of it and I just find that more times, we read all books the same way which may limit the purpose of a book in its entirety. I do believe that books are not just for the knowledge of them but for the life of them.
With a book (in the context of non-fiction, non-academic or technical manuals) I see beyond the pen and paper to the real being standing behind its pages and just trying to get something across to us. I wonder what it is they are trying to say. I want to hear it. I want to experience it and be changed by it and through the years of attempting this with books, I found these quite useful:
1. Do it purposefully.
When you pick up a book to read, understand what you want to achieve. Why would you read the book instead of doing something else? What are you seeking to know?
Sometimes, there are unanswered questions deep down in our minds that propel the act of reading. If we settle down to bring these to the surface, then we can be more interactive and deliberate with the reading process.
2. Read the introduction and forward.
These parts of books provide sneak peeks into the entire book.
To help align your focus with the objectives of the book, it is important to go through the introduction and forward. When you do this, you can decide objectively if you really want to commit to the book or search for another that matches your objectives.
3. Read the first chapter/skim-read the first five pages of each chapter.
I use this to get the voice of the writer and more insight into the message of the book. This is necessary to prevent mental block as different writers have different voices (styles of communication of the message).
Writers express themselves (their personality/experience) in their writings which makes the piece uniquely theirs. As such, the similarity of personality, as well as the maturity of the reader, determines how well he/she can receive and assimilate the message.
Therefore, it is necessary to choose a book whose writer’s voice and style resonate with yours.
I did add “maturity” in the context of this write up because reading and comprehension has something to do with how “broadened” a person’s mind is.
So you find that as one grows in knowledge and experience, he will be able to accommodate different writing styles and voices.
By and large, pick and read a book that is simple and easy to comprehend by you, otherwise, look for a simpler version, one with the same message.
Getting the life of a book.
When you have finally settled on a book to read, to get the life of it, you can do the following:-
4. Pray before reading.
This is why it is necessary;
“Change is produced in a person when information has passed from the mind to the spirit”.
When it is only at the mind level – as information – it is not only a waste, it is also destructive. But when it is received in one’s spirit – as revelation – he begins to see differently – now with understanding – and real change is produced.
This is the power of prayer – it livens your spirit to receive the necessary information to produce a change in you.
Need I add that not every information in a book is necessary for you as a reader per time. Some information are for the moment, some others for a later time or for someone else.
You need that which is for you at the moment and you can successfully read a book over and over and still not see it. So it’s easier to simply pray and ask for help and guidance to see what is needed for you per time.
5. Take notes while reading.
The act of taking notes while reading serves two purposes.
First, it facilitates active participation and comprehension.
We talked about the borderline where information moves from the mind to the spirit. At that peak where the mind is hovering around a concept to understand it, taking notes helps the understanding dawn as it seeks to make sense of what is being read.
It is the interactive part of studying where you are dissecting what has been read until it becomes plain for your mind to receive it.
Also, it aides the retention of information.
We find that what we pen down in a study, we tend to understand better, and this information hardly leaves our mind. So it’s safe to say taking notes fortifies received information.
While this can be done with a pen and paper, a number of note apps exist on play store that suffices for the same purpose. By whichever means, take notes when you read.
6. Read it again and again, most likely, at different times.
Sharing from a personal experience, I remember reading the book ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren. The very first time I read it, it really didn’t make sense to me as the ideas in the book were at variance with my beliefs at the time.
The second time I read it, it joggled my mind a bit, like, there was this tussle between old ideas and new information.
The third time I read it, – in a different setting and with some new experience – it sank and I was completely broken.
Then I would read it again and this time, prayerfully, and the message just flowed freely, producing a real change in me and setting me up for a new reality.
So, judging from my experience, I can say reading a book more than once and at different times increases your chances of understanding the book better.
7. Get an accountability partner.
The place of discussions in group reading cannot be over emphasized. It’s one quick way to turn on the light in books because we all see things differently and from different perspectives, per time.
Having an accountability partner, one who is reading the same book and will discuss it with you can be as good as having an extra eye in the read. Chances are, you’d get to see what you’re looking for faster than if you had to do multiple rereads of the book at different times.
My guess – you didn’t think this was going to be one long hell-of-a-process right?
I wish it were so simple too. But it’s as with every other thing in life; good things take time, and whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. So if you set out to read a book, why not just take the pain to really read it and use it?
Reading is a noble act in it’s self. Doing it right can give credit to the process and be a big plus for you, not to mention, it reinforces the act each time you get it right.
So what book have you set out to read at the moment? What are you looking to improve?
Go on and try this process right away and be sure to return smiling all the way.