Listen Empathically to Your Books

I enjoyed reading How to Get the Most Out of Your Books by Donald Latumahina this morning. But the following statement jolted me:

“…the goal of reading books is getting actionable ideas.”

This could be a goal for some books, for example, how-to or some self-improvement books, but it would be a travesty to apply it to all non-fiction.

Simply to understand

Often the goal of reading a certain book is simply to understand. Building one’s wisdom and/or knowledge is an important foundation for taking action in the many complex and often unanticipated situations we face today.

Thorough, but tedious

Mr. Latumahina’s method, while thorough, is tedious. I like to read for the pure joy of understanding a new perspective. I like to immerse myself fully in a new book, to listen empathically to it, and then only analyze it once I am sure I fully grasp its message.

The point is to understand

Going overboard on analysis can quickly lead to an obsession with process that defeats the point of reading the book: to understand.

By George Donnelly

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