How to read books / articles faster and gain a better understanding?

reading
New answer on Jun 13, 2020
8 Answers
968 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 10, 2020

I'm the type of person who likes to highlight and take notes on books, and I realize that it takes me a huge amount of time reading a book. Besides, focusing on highlighting and taking notes seems to distract me from perceiving the article. I also tend to read every word carefully instead of skimming through the sentences.

Could you provide advice on how to read faster and more efficiently, while still able to capture the meats of the book/article? Also, what would you do to enhance your understanding/reflection of it? Would you usually write notes after reading the whole book? Thanks in advance!

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 11, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

here is an unconventional tip that helped me to reach 50+ books per year: instead of reading books you can actually listen to them.

While I listen, I take notes on my phone and once finished, prepare a quick recap with the key points.

In this way last year I totaled 51 books, 15 read and 36 listened. That includes some huge books. There is no way I would have been able to reach that target only reading.

You will not absorb information exactly in the same way as when you read, but you can easily complete a book per week listening in your spare time.

You can try it using Audible, they offer an initial free trial period.

Best,

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 10, 2020

Hi there,

Each person has its own style in reading - all I can tell you is that if your goal is to read faster, then just remember that your brain can read/understand faster than your inner voice.

Try practice reading without using your inner voice - it will feel weird a the beginning but it will help you almost double your reading speed.

To avoid "missing the point", pay extra attention to the first paragraph and last paragraphs of an article. (and first sentence and last sentence of a long paragraph)

Best of luck

Khaled

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
7
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 10, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Honestly? Lots and lots of practice. You just need to read a lot over a long period of time.

That being said, the following might help:

1) Underline key words (instead of highlighting passages)

2) Fold important pages

3) Think about the main point the author is trying to make, and the key supporting facts...write this down (and nothing else)

4) Try to read faster. Even if it's uncomfortable. You need to practice skimming

Was this answer helpful?
Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 10, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

What helped me personally a lot to speed up my reading is "Breakthrough Rapid Reading" (Peter Kump).

Historically I was always skeptical when it comes to speed reading, but this one changed my perspective on that.

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 10, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

The truth is that it gets better with time.

Practice leveraging GMAT materials -particularly the Verbal section, that has multiple texts, etc.-

There are free exams in the internet that you can use for practice (the one of LBS MBA page, Verits prep, as well as some free trials for courses such as the one of The Economist (https://gmat.economist.com/)

The key to success here is not only get practice, but learn techniques.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Jun 10, 2020

Dear A,

There are a lot of techniques and short courses on fast-reading, for example on udemy.com.

I can share with you some ideas, if there is some study or publication, you can read first very attentively an Executive Summary and Conclusion, and if you want to get some specific details on the research, you just jump to the specific chapter to go deeper.

Also, you can train yourself to read first sentence in every paragraph, that gives you overview of the whole paragraph itself. But trick in this reading, that your mind should be always tuned in, otherwise you just get bored, tired and lose your time.

So, my advice to you, you really want to go deeper in that to take some short course and practice and practice.

Best,

André

Was this answer helpful?
6
Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 13, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, in addition to what already said, I would suggest increasing your time spent reading books by simply listen to them. During the day you will find lots of new slots perfect for listening to audiobook and learn a lot

Best,
Antonello

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Jun 10, 2020

Hello, I would be happy to help you. However, could you tell me what your objectif is exactly? Thank you so much. David

Was this answer helpful?
3
Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching
4,179
Meetings
30,787
Q&A Upvotes
322
Awards
5.0
1531 Reviews