Tuesday, January 01, 2013

#musesofamom: Nine Ways to Get More From a Book

First of all - Happy New Year to you and thank you so much for visiting!  Please choose to "follow" my blog or subscribe to my Twitter feed.  2013 is going to be an eventful year here at the blog, and you won't want to miss anything!

The knowledge I am about to share today is not original; I will fully disclose that I "borrowed" this from a must-read leadership book: "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. If you have not read this book, or it has been years since you have (perhaps in college when you "had" too), then I highly recommend that you add this to the top of your 2013 reading list.  In fact, it has been a couple years since I have I picked up my copy, so I will read it again too, just to show it's that important.

Here is my paraphrased and condensed version from Carnegie's Nine Ways given in the introduction of his book:

1.  Have a deep desire to learn something from which you are about to read.  Don't read to read; decide at the beginning that you are reading to learn.

2.  Read through each chapter twice. Right, I said, "two times." This really works!  The first time you tend to read at your faster pace; the second time you will undoubtedly find something you missed before. You may be tempted to move to the next chapter, but wait until you've read the current chapter twice, unless you are reading entirely for entertainment.

3.  Stop frequently to think about what you are reading.  Again, don't read just to read, but ask yourself how you can apply what you are reading.

4.  Keep a highlighter by you at all times so you can immediately mark those things that jump out or are important to remember, or make comments or notes in the margins.

5.  If you want to get a real, lasting benefit from a book, don't think that reading through the book once will work. Take time throughout the year to go back to your highlights or notes to refresh yourself so it will continually be applied.

6.  "Learning is an active process." says Carnegie.  We learn by doing, so if you want put into practice what you are learning, then do something about it right away.  Choose one principle you read and find a way to put it into practice that very day.

7.  While Carnegie suggests here to give a family member or colleague a dime (this was 1936!) or dollar  when caught violating a learned principle, I like this approach much better:  Find a reading buddy or accountability partner whom you trust.  This will be your "go-to" person who will promise to work with you and to encourage you as you put into practice what you've learned.

8.  Go back and check yourself on your progress.  This is where a journal or day timer (if you aren't a wordy person) comes in handy to chart your progress daily or weekly.  See where you would like to make improvements and what lessons you are learning.

9.  Keep track of successes! A gratitude journal, conversation over coffee with your accountability partner, or even tweeting or Facebook messaging your success to the author will help you celebrate (and the author will appreciate the encouragement too!).  Buy a new copy of the book and share it with another friend.  Not only will you be inspiring your friend, but you will also begin to grow a community who can work together towards learning new principles, scripture or lessons.

While Carnegie's list was written with his leadership theme in mind, I know that these principles will help with the majority of non-fiction and inspirational books we are reading today.

Nothing is better than reading.  We are losing so much by spending the majority of free time in front of electronics and forgetting the Classics and those books (past and present) written to help, teach and inspire.  Let's commit to reading more about successes instead of watching the depressing drama of people on TV.  Let's decide that we will read more about improving ourselves and helping others succeed instead of watching 24 hour news channel stories that can be so negative.  (I'm not saying that knowing what is going on in our country is not relevant; I am saying that we should not constantly dwell on it, but do something instead!)  Let's make our New Year's resolution to read more, and everything else we want to accomplish will more than likely come to pass.

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