How to Read a Book in an Hour by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In Women
Dec 10th, 2013

One of the many time thieves in our lives is slow reading.  There are times for slow, no-rush, no-worries reading.  However, there are other times we seem to be reading as if we had all the time in the world because we don’t know how to read quickly.

This week’s tips aren’t going to teach you to read 2000 words per minute.  (Although I *can* teach you that in a workshop.  Contact me for me information on that).  What these tips *will* help you do is to read and retain only those portions of a book that suit your needs.  Note:  These ideas are for informational/non-fiction books vs. fiction.

  1. First, ask (and answer) ‘What is my purpose for reading?’
  2. Write down your purpose on a bookmark.  An index card works great for this.
  3. Make sure the book is “broken in,” i.e., that you gently open the book at the center and press it, open at the ¼ and ¾ portions and press it, etc.  Your books will last longer and be easier to use if you do this when you get the book.  People new to my workshops laugh and think I’m kidding when I hand out books and then make sure that they “open their new books properly.”  My regular participants starting doing so without my asking–and are very proud of themselves, may I say!
  4. Read the introduction, if there is one.  This helps you get a general sense of the book.
  5. Survey the table of contents, noticing what is of interest to you, given the purpose you have noted on your bookmark.
  6. Revise your purpose, as needed.  Sometimes what we thought we were going to read about isn’t what the book is about–and so we need to reframe our purpose.
  7. Set a timer for one hour, go to an appropriately quiet reading spot and read *only* what you perceive to be the most valuable.  Note:  By the time you get to setting a timer, you may have already decided that this book isn’t for you, after all.
  8. Whichever parts you are reading, read fast!  Just speed up your eyes!  Your brain is perfectly capable of staying with you, I promise.
  9. Read with a pencil or pen in your hand.  Post-it® notes are useful as well.
  10. Jot down key words or mind map as you go.  When you finish, take a look at your notes and/or mind map.  Add additional thoughts, words, ideas, or sentences to what you have already written.  Think about what you have learned and how you will apply this information.

Are you safe? Do you have time, energy, and attention thieves lurking around you – ready to rob you of your most precious resources?

If that sounds like you, and you’re ready to banish those burglars once and for all, you will love this practical and specific Get a Plan! Guide® to Thwarting the Thieves of Your Time, Energy, & Attention. If you like reading and having a document to refer to, you may purchase and download this 47-page, full-color Get a Plan! Guide®. You’ll be glad you did!