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Book Experience. The Right Way

Weekly newsletter from Slava
Weekly newsletter from Slava
After trying to express the topic in the form of the Twitter thread, I decided that this is so important that it should be expended as a post around it. As usual (hello, UODP), let’s start with the problems that we are trying to address (so you can make a decision if you want to read the rest):
  • you found a book with lovely ideas, but the book itself is garbage, so you forcing yourself to finish it just so you can learn all the key concepts from it
  • you do not know how to pick the next book
  • you forgetting ideas from the book you read some time ago and need a way to quickly refresh your memory
  • you do not have time to read books in total, but you still want to learn critical insides

Let me start with how IMHO one should experience the books. On a high level, we will dive into the insides:
  • Breadth. Learning ideas from as many books as possible in the shortest amount of time
  • Depth. Creating a priority list of books that one wants to read (or re-read)
  • Refresh. Coming back to the list of the ideas from the book that has been read
Let’s start with the first part. 
The question is: how to find a way to be exposed to as many ideas from as many books as possible without actually reading them? What I used to be doing(and still do in some of the cases):
  • listen to recommendations from friends
  • read the feedback (on Reddit?)
  • refresh your knowledge
So far, the best way is to find a person who reads a lot and has a very close mindset to you and pay close attention to what that person reads.
But in many cases, all these sources are very indirect. They will give you minimal exposure to fundamental ideas from the books (if any). 
I have not one but two solutions for you:
Blinkist effectively provides an audio version of the TLDR of the book. They distill a book to the core ideas and create what virtually can be called a 15-30 min podcast. This is ideal for the commute, and it gives you just enough idea about the ideas from the book.
Lucid, on the other hand, has a pretty different approach. It converts a book to a text-visual representation that can teach you the right ideas (they even give you quizzes). If you are not commuting and can dedicate 10-20min to exploring a new book, I would highly suggest Lucid. Plus, they even have threads per different topics where they combine books that you can experience. This logical story makes it a fantastic skill-learning experience.
Lucid and blinkist are not mutually exclusive, but I can clearly see that even one might be good enough. But if you want to pick one, I would suggest Lucid.
The first step gives you an excellent list of books to read. However, how to decide which specific book to take next? As usually (yes, per UODP), always start with the problem. What problem do you need to solve right now? Maybe you need to refresh your management skills? Or productivity? When a problem has been identified, most folks just take the book from the top of the list. However, the strategical mistake is having only new books on the list. I would argue that one should have only one book list that is prioritized and at the same time combines old and new books. It was not possible before. But now, you can assess ideas from the books beforehand and put them in the right place without reading them first (you also can remove them after reading if you choose so). Now you can always take the book from the top of the list and ask yourself (in case the book has already been read): will re-reading this book help me? Spoiler alert: often, the answer is “yes”; re-reading the book that helped you in the past will most likely have the same effect in the present. However, if you are absolutely sure that the book on the top can not help you anymore, or you re-read it so many times that nothing new is left to discover, by all means, move to the next one.
Yes, this assumes you have many lists for different topics that bother you. Some of my lists, for example:
  • productivity
  • investments
  • leadership
  • general engineering
  • new discoveries
  • etc
As you can see, there is a list of “new discoveries.” This is for the cases when I just want to experience something new, something fresh, unrelated to my past experience. But even in this case, the list is still prioritized based on the ideas from the books.
Most straightforward part: from time to time, you might scan your lists to identify which books you identified, in the past, as very useful but now forgot about ideas from them. This would be a perfect time to use services from the first part to refresh your knowledge about them.
Good luck, my dear friends, and as usual, thank you for reading.
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Weekly newsletter from Slava
Weekly newsletter from Slava

Blogs: . Founder of . Investor. Podcaster. All opinions are my own.

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