How I Read Business Books

Plowing through piles of business books is a valuable way to read them. Most books on business follow a similar structure, and they typically only present one new Big Idea.  Here’s how I review them.

But also a shout-out to this great approach by Tom Searcy.  He uses a pre-created template with room for Title, rating, key 3 points, and quotes.

Because the public library is a good source for books, and most books are only worth a single read, I make a point not to highlight or otherwise mark up what I read.  Instead, I have a pen and paper handy to jot chapter and section titles, noteworthy quotes, ideas, and applications to my own business problems.

This takes a little bit of extra time, and slows reading down.  But it slows reading exactly where it should be slower– at the points in the book that are relevant, interesting, and noteworthy.  The chapter and section titles are to create an outline for a quick review later.  One could argue that writing down chapter names for less relevant chapters isn’t a good use of time, but I’d counter that reading a book which doesn’t even have chapter titles worth noting is not a book worth reading at all, and I’ve aborted a handful of lackluster titles by considering this standard.

Finally I’ll recapitulate my written notes into a blog entry with overall thoughts, a rating, a Big Idea restatement, and notable quotes.

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