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How to read a book?

How to read a book?

This post makes the following assumptions

1.   You know how to read a book :)

2.   You have troubles to choose which is the next book you want to read

3.   You need some tips to take notes

4.   Don’t be a zombie reader

I like reading, reading is fun. And it’s a great activity to do while I’m on the plane or on a train. I do always have a book around, or my Kindle, or both. I read 3-4 book per month, and usually, I read books about management or self-growth. For some reason, I’m not interested in fiction novels or sci-fi, I prefer Netflix for that :)

Why do I like Management and self-growth books? They are full of bits of advice and tips. I do believe people who succeed in some areas of their lives is quite generous. And they are happy to share some of the tools and pieces of advice who brought them prosperity.

Books bring me motivation and they push me to do something. I'm surprised that quite often I find a book that it costs less than 10€ and I got 2-3 ideas that they really made me grow! So, the question then is …. How do I choose which book to read? Keep reading and I’ll share with you how I decide which books I read :)

How to choose a book to read?

This might seem a trivial question, right? But the reality is that choosing your next book to read is a complex task! The reason is this …



According to John Biggs, writer, consultant and programmer for TechCrunch there is one new book on Amazon every five minutes! Wow!

This means that in Amazon the number of books is over 3 million.

On top of this, we are continuously bombarded with lists.

The Top 10 business book of 2016, the Top 25 books every entrepreneur need to read, the Top 10 more promising books for next year, the Top 3 book highly effective leaders need to read …and so on … it’s just too much, there are lists full of books promising that they worth our time … but that’s the problem. Our time is limited … How do you decide which ones are worth reading, and how do you get the most out of them?

This is how I do it!

My criteria to choose which book I will read is that they have to have at least 2 good ideas. Better if it’s 3. Few books have 2-3 good ideas. There are many books that they start with one idea and 250 pages later they are still explaining and elaborating the idea. I do personally find those books quite boring, I need a book with more meat!

This is what happened to me with a book I started a couple of week ago. Ego is the enemy from Ryan Holiday. I like Ryan style and his previous book (The obstacle is the way) I did really enjoyed it, but Ego is the enemy it was exploring continuously the same idea. I like the idea, I like the invitation to stay humble and learn, but 256 pages reminding me continuously this idea is just too much,

I need books that they teach me at least 2 ideas. In order to assess if the book is giving me at least 2 ideas what I do is to scan through the table of contents and see the different chapters and their titles. This is for example the approach I took when I bought the latest book from Carl Newport. This is a great book and it is explores 3 great ideas to achieve Deep Work (you can read my review HERE).

When choosing a book …. I also read the introduction, and the first chapter.

With Amazon this is free, you get a fragment directly on your Kindle. And this fragment is giving me a good idea if the book is interesting enough. I found that the best ideas are usually in the first third of a book. Writers know we are busy, so they tend to elaborate their best paragraphs at the beginning. They need a hook to keep us engaged!! And let me share a secret with you… we are not forced to finish all the books we read!!! There is no rule that we have to finish a book! If the third part of the book is not good enough it is ok to quit the book. At the beginning for some reason, I felt obligated to finish every book that I started. But I found that’s very demotivating because it was a waste of time! If the book is not good for whatever reason is ok to quit …


How to take notes?

For me, this is by far the most important part when reading. I do LOVE taking notes! If I don’t take notes I will not remember anything from a book just a couple of weeks later …. If I don’t highlight sections then it’s very difficult to find the juice of the book …

When it’s physical book I write in the margins, I write ideas and I summarize the most important paragraphs at the end of a chapter. Then, what I do is to take a picture via Evernote. Evernote is my second brain and every important piece of info I need to remember will be digitalized in Evernote. When I read a traditional book I do the same, I write ideas in the margin of the book and then I take a picture via Evernote.

When I read on my Kindle that’s even easier!, I just highlight the relevant info, and I do also add my notes. I’m really grateful to Amazon for my Kindle, it rediscovered my passion for reading, being able to read in my bed totally dark without disturbing my partner with the reading lamp is really great for me :) sometimes I’m quite tired and I only read a couple of pages before falling asleep, but sometimes I’m able to get a good 1 hour of reading before sleeping!

When reading in my Kindle I always highlight the relevant ideas. And then once the ideas are in my Kindle is quite easy to organize them in Evernote!

There’s a feature not very known in Amazon web page that you can see all the highlights of all your books!

You can get all the steps in this link. Once you know how to access to all your comments you can very easily export it to Evernote. And once in Evernote.. voila! Super easy to search!  


Don’t be a zombie reader

Reading a lot but not doing something with the learnings is, in my opinion, a waste of time. The goal of reading a self-growth book is to come up with ideas to become better, either improving your lifestyle or your life at work. This improvement is only achievable by executing ideas, by taking action and implement those 2-3 ideas that we learn as we read the book.

Taking actions after reading matter.




To finish up

Reading is one of the cheapest actions we can get to get better in different aspects of our lives. However, in this busy, hectic world we live is very important to choose carefully the books we go through. Hopefully some of the ideas I expressed in above paragraphs might be useful for someone, if that’s the case, mission accomplished and happy reading during this Easter break!!!

During this Easter break, this is the book I started ... and so far so good! really interesting!



Have a great Easter break and happy egg chocolate hunting!


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