On Reading more effectively


In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero. Charlie Munger

Quit books

Start books quickly and give them up easily.

Good books almost read themselves. Bad books are a grind.

Our desire to finish what we start sometimes works against us. Good books finish themselves. You can’t put them down.

Skim a lot of books. Read a few. Immediately re-read the best ones twice.

When you lose interest give it 5 more pages. Then skim the next chapter. If you’re still not interested put it down. It’s the authors job to keep your attention.

levels to this

Not everything needs to be read with the same intensity. Some books only deserve a skim, while others deserve your complete attention. How much effort you put in relates to what you’re reading and why you’re reading it.

  • 4 levels you can work with
    1. Entertainment
    2. Citing
    3. Understanding
    4. Mastering

Skim broadly to find something worth reading. Then dive in slowly and deeply.


Time sorts the books worth reading from the ones that should be skimmed or ignored.

While a few new books might prove to be valuable, the vast majority of them will be forgotten in months. If you can’t tell which new books will be great and which ones won’t, let time filter them for you.

David Perell also speaks about this. How much of what we consume is from the ‘now factory’, stuff that was recently published, hype/mass marketed, that sorta thing.

Step out of the now, read books and consume stuff that has stood the test of time. It’s also less risky on your time

Another takeaway is that a lot of what you need to learn, can be found outside of books. protect your time

Most of what you need out of new books (skill development, recipes, programming languages) can be found online.

“Speed Reading” That Works: How to Intelligently Skim a Book

Every book should be read no more slowly than it deserves, and no more quickly than you can read it with satisfaction and comprehension

— Mortimer Adler

how to skim

  • Read cover, blurb, preface
  • table of contents, to get a feel of the map of the book
  • identify a key chapter or two read those.

Is this a place you want to end up?

  • Read the end, it’s usually well summarised by the author
  • listen to an interview, authors distill their key points well for an interview. reading the book can then become the extended study of the work, this is already something I do

Skimming helps you reach a decision point: Does this book deserve more of my time and attention? Why? Unless you’re reading for entertainment, if you can’t answer that question, you can toss the book.

Superficial reading

This is used when you’re taking a book that’s notably above your level.

a superficial reading means that you quickly read start to finish without stopping to ponder the things you don’t understand.

What you gain from this quick read will help you later when you go back and put more effort into reading. You now come to another decision point. Now that you have a better understanding of the book’s contents and its structure, do you want to understand it?

How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler

There is a difference between reading for understanding and reading for information. A useful heuristic: Anything easily digested is reading for information.

Remember what you read

  • Mark up the book while reading it. Questions. Thoughts. And, more important, connections to other ideas.
  • At the end of each chapter, without looking backwrite some notes on the main points/arguments/take-aways. Then look back through the chapter and write down anything you missed.
  • When you pick it back up, reread all of your notes/highlights/marginalia/etc. Time is a good filter — what’s still important? Note this on the inside of the cover with a reference to the page number.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.

E.F. Schumacher

Mark Manson shares some tips

Contrasting Opinion from David Perell

for balance :)