Reading Tips

    Everyone knows that reading is not just reading lines of text, it is a complex mental process with its own characteristics and hidden capabilities. Let me tell you about a couple of such features - about two types of reading, as well as share useful tips to the reading person.

    Of course, there are much more types of reading, about six and a half billion - each person reading has his own type of reading. However, two main types can be distinguished.

    Analytical reading

    Analytical reading is described in sufficient detail in Mortimer Adler’s book, How to Read Books. This type of reading is applied to books especially rich in knowledge and experience, to books in which knowledge is literally compressed, and it needs to be unzipped. Analytical reading is characterized by the following principles:
    • In analytical reading, the process of studying a book should not be perceived as entertainment or a way to relax with a book, but as a serious intellectual work.
    • The first sign of analytical reading is that after half an hour of such reading, you feel very tired.
    • The second sign of analytical reading is the study and reading of each book takes several times more time and effort.
    • While reading, it is imperative to make marginal notes or write out fragments of the book in a notebook. The book, read by the analytical method, is literally covered with a second layer of text with notes, notes, thoughts and conclusions of the person reading it.
    • During analytical reading, the book is re-read at least three times - the first time it is simply read without analysis, the second time the book is deeply analyzed, the third time it is simply read again. After reading, a list of book ideas is formed, the so-called sammari.

    In “Letters to a Stranger”, Henri Morois describes the analytical way of reading as follows:

    A very effective reading method is “star-shaped”: the reader expands the circle of interests, moving in different directions - as if along the rays of a star - from the basis of a book or story.

    The analytical method of reading is excellent for studying complex texts - manuals, help, important technical articles, descriptions. It is also suitable because it wants to receive several times more information from books

    Surface reading

    With superficial reading, the emphasis shifts from the desire to get the maximum information from the book into the desire to get maximum comfort from it. This is a calm, relaxed reading, studying a book for fun, using text as a way to relax. Surface reading is distinguished by the following principles:
    • You need to read with pleasure, for the mood or to create it.
    • There are no rules for reading books — each has its own rules.
    • A man does not read a book; he communicates with it.
    • The book needs to be read only once, and if necessary, re-read with your favorite pieces.
    • If you don’t like the book, you should drop it and never return to it again (however, sometimes you can give it another chance).

    By surface reading we read up to 80% of all information - for example, this is how we study most of the articles on Habré, switching to the analytical reading mode for the most interesting and serious ones. Superficial reading is reading fiction, magazines, newspapers.

    Why is this all?

    Reading is a complex and multifaceted process. Reading is not just the ability to perceive textual information, it is the ability to decrypt it, to understand what is written. Reading can and should be learned.

    A few tips for the reading person:
    • It is important to be able to switch between types of reading, studying important information in an analytical way, and easy and interesting - superficial.
    • Reading serious and important articles should be approached only in the atmosphere necessary for this (nothing should distract you, neither the external environment, nor internal worries). This is the only way to read analytically.
    • Reading analytically, get ready for the “Wikipedia effect” - you will constantly go to clarifying and explanatory links, be distracted by reading supporting articles and materials. There is nothing wrong with this, only you need to be able to control yourself and not have the effect of taking control of you.
    • Find a compromise between the desire to read interesting things right now, no matter what, and the need to postpone reading until later.
    • If you think you don’t have time to read now, you will never have it. Learn to set aside time to read in any situation and on any schedule.
    • The phrase “I don’t read, I listen to audiobooks / podcasts” does not work - you are not listening, but listening (doing an analogue of surface reading).
    • Try not to read more than two books at once, but it’s better to limit yourself to one. Attention to reading, involvement and interest are reduced in direct proportion to the number of books being read at the same time. If you still want to study two books at once, keep one at home and the other at work.
    • A reading schedule that is convenient for a modern person - at short intervals of 15-30 minutes while resting.
    • Do not read before bedtime (or at least do not call the process of self-euthanasia a book by reading).
    • Mix styles - after a business book, read a technical article, then someone’s autobiography, and then a book on self-development.
    • Get a notepad in which you enter all the books that are worth reading.
    • Treat reading at the same time as both mental work and entertainment.

    Well, and finally, a few links, books and articles that we can recommend that we want to learn to read faster and deeper:

    We hope that our reading rules will help you get more benefit or pleasure from the process (or maybe both at once). What reading rules do you have?

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