Reading non-fiction books may be a joyful experience or a chore.
Most of my life I treat reading books as a chore and a forced activity (with some rare exceptions).
Two years ago I have figured out how to start enjoying books, and this is what I want to share with you.
The secret is easy: you need to ask questions to those ideas you find in every book.
Choosing a Book
You do not really need a plan or strategy on what books to read.
You just need to start reading something useful.
Most self-development books provide fundamental knowledge. You won't benefit directly from reading those (with some exceptions), so it does not really matter in what order you will read them.
You will gradually accumulate your knowledge capital. Treat it as a fun and useful time investment.
On the other hand, it's always much easier and better to read books related to your immediate problem or context you are in.
First, ask yourself a question: what category (area of knowledge) is most interesting or pressing for me right now?
Is it business, software development methodology, philosophy?
Second, decide whether you need an actionable or a theoretical book.
Actionable books provide methodologies and examples which you need to think through and try to apply immediately. A good example is Mini Habits.
Theoretical books expose you to some fundamental ideas and knowledge. They are not actionable per se, but they can change your mindset if you reflect on the content.
Emotional Intelligence is of that type.
Also, there are great books which lie in-between. Learned Optimism is a great mix of theory and practice.
Here is a lifehack: I suggest you start with Mini Habits.
Just read 2 pages a day!
This way you will practice the methodology from the book itself and build a nice habit of reading ;)
Before Reading a Book
I was missing this step as well as many other people do.
Is there really anything you can do before diving into reading?
Yes, you can boost your interest.
Read the short description and contents and imagine that your are gonna talk to the author of the book.
What questions would you like to ask him to understand the topic better?
What ideas do you know already and would like to discuss?
It may sound stupid or crazy, but it will really boost your curiosity!
While Reading a Book
When reading a book, ask yourself these questions:
- How is the idea or the theory I am reading about different from what I already know?
- If it does not seem to resonate with me, why and how it can be true in author's world?
- How can I act on this information? How can I use these knowledge immediately?
Those questions will make you focus on the world which you have never anticipated before. You will be able to fill in missing pieces of your mindset puzzle.
Imagine what your world could be if those ideas are true.
Imagine who you can become if you start acting on top of those ideas.
Do you like what you see?
After Reading a Book
And last but not least: take some time to reflect on the content of the book, do not rush to read it through as fast as possible!
Quality over quantity.
Your goal should be to enjoy the journey through the unknown world with full immersion, not as fast as you can.
To fully grasp the ideas from the book, you need to comprehend it and try things out.
You will definitely come back to those books several times. And every new take will be refreshing and enlightening. You will always find something new.
If you do not know where to look for books, I'd suggest you have a look at my booklist.
Also, I will post an article about the books most useful for Software Developers. Stay tuned!