I’m not a big reader in what I would classify as the traditional sense. Meaning, you won’t often find me curled up with a book. I much prefer Audible, blogs and the occasional business how-to guide. I move fast, so it can be hard for me to really focus on a task like reading without being distracted by the ideas the content inspires or being tempted to multitask.
I was recently turned on to Tai Lopez’s YouTube channel, which is a great resource if you’re looking for life motivation and encouragement to continue learning and exploring your maximum potential. As I began exploring his videos, it became abundantly clear that he IS a big reader. I was immediately intimidated and overwhelmed at the thought of all the books he displayed on his bookshelf. He also has videos where he claims to read multiple books a day (no that is not a typo) and touts reading as a practical way to funnel mentors into your life like Warren Buffet and Conrad Hilton.
Still, I was intrigued so I kept watching the videos. Then I came across his video on how to read a book in 10 minutes. I’ve never taken a speed reading course, although I’ve always wanted to, as I feel I’m a slower reader. I like to take my time reading novels, which is why Audible is a much better resource for me when it comes to business books or when I need to absorb information quickly.
How to Read a Book in 30 Minutes or Less
I decided to give Lopez’s 3-step technique a try (disclaimer: this may be someone else’s technique or maybe something you learn in speed reading class, but my first exposure to this method was through his video) and I have to admit it was a pretty good start to reading a book — especially a how-to book or a self-help book. Watch his video for details on the three steps. In summary, they are:
- Spend two minutes skimming the book’s front and back covers, inserts, table of contents and summary.
- Spend 5-10 minutes skimming the book in more depth, taking time to highlight or dog-ear sections you want to spend more time on for step three. Try to pinpoint the BIG IDEA (usually there are 1-2).
- Spend 15-30 minutes going more in-depth, reading the paragraphs and pages that speak to the main concepts of the book and determine if you want to spend more time reading it in the future. After following the three steps, I found that one book did not interest me enough to read further (already had the big idea) while another made me want to reference it in more detail and expand my time spent.
I tested this experiment with the book Contagious by Jonah Berger and found that in less than 10 minutes I was able to recognize the big idea of the book and pinpoint the chapters and concepts I wanted to review in more detail. I also realized the majority of the book was full of case studies, which although helpful in understanding the context of the big idea, were not necessary to get the big picture and application of his concept.
A novel I would plan to read slowly, or a business book I’d like to go through in depth, I would still listen to on Audible. However, this abbreviated method of looking through a business book makes the idea of going through a book in a week or a couple books in a week feel refreshingly doable.
I’m going to continue to experiment with this approach to business book reading and report back to you on the results. In the meantime, let me know if you’re a fan of speed reading or if you’ve tried similar techniques. How many books do you read per month?
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Kate is an entrepreneur and award-winning public relations influencer based in Columbus, Ohio. She founded Belle Communications with the vision to inspire meaningful work and thriving relationships for her clients, team and self. Kate oversees business development and client strategy, championing tactics that translate into tangible outcomes. Within the past year, she has been recognized as one of PR News' Top Women in PR, Smart Business Network's "Smart 50" Class of 2016 and Columbus Business First's Forty Under 40 Class of 2016. When she’s not busy being a girl boss, Kate enjoys exploring new cities and beaches, eating Paleo and any opportunity to snuggle a puppy or shop.