12 November 2005

A quick-and-dirty reading strategy when time is short

A Quick and Dirty Reading Strategy When Time is Short: How To Find the Essential 20% (From Open Loops).

"To get the most out of a book, report, review, etc., in the least amount of time, try this strategy:

1. Read the title of the material.
2. Read the introduction.
3. Read the Table of Contents.
4. Flip through the material, scanning the chapter titles and sub-headings. Note the words that stand out as bold, different colors, underlined, or italicized.
5. Look at the illustrations and captions. Look at the charts and diagrams. Read the pull-quotes and sidebars.
6. Scan through the index looking for your particular business buzz words.
7. Now read the first chapter (or in a shorter work, the first paragraph).
8. Flip through the book and read the first sentence of each paragraph. The 80/20 rule says that only 20% of each paragraph is essential. Each paragraph should contain a topic sentence (the 20%). The rest of the paragraph is simply support material to defend the topic sentence, examples, illustrations, etc. (the 80%). The topic sentence is often the first sentence of the paragraph -- but not always.
9. Read the last chapter (or paragraph in a shorter work). If there is an executive summary, read it.
10. Read any other information on the cover or dust jacket."

If you're pressed for time and have a book you want to read, why not give it a shot?

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Mark Chambers, Manchester, UK said...

...shouldn't that lastline read

"If you're pressed for time and have a book you should have read, why not give it a shot?"

dave said...

Good point.