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This is outside of my normal topics but it is a great trick and reading nonfiction books is one of the best ways to stay engaged with the newest thinking in your field. This is especially important if you want to advance in your career, be more valuable to your clients or employer, or transition to a new area of interest.

But how can you make time for reading if your schedule is already overloaded?

Understand that you don’t need to read a nonfiction book cover to cover to learn from it — you can actually absorb just as much if you approach it in a different way.

  • Start with the author bio to get a sense of the person’s bias and perspective.
  • Read the title, the subtitle, the front flap, and the table of contents. What’s the big-picture argument?
  • Read the introduction and the conclusion word for word, but quickly.
  • Then, skim each chapter.
  • End with the table of contents, to summarize the main points in your head.

When you’re actively engaging with the material in this way, your mind is more alert and able to retain a great deal of information.

HBR adaptation from “How to Read a Book a Week,” by Peter Bregman

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