On Before, During, and After Reading Activities

To master reading, you need to do something more than just pick a random book out of your shelf and go through the text. Reading any book, is an inherently flawed way of reading. But that’s, sadly, the only way we know. In our busy world with infinite information, it’s no longer enough to just read. It becomes important to approach reading strategically.

When you read books without giving much thought about the final outcome, comprehension, focus, and most importantly results take a backseat.

We need to carefully consider what exact book we need, actively read the text, and apply what we have learned. Finally, make corrections based on the outcomes.

Sounds like a complicated topic.

Initially, I thought the same.

“There are literally millions of books out there! How to find the best one for me? What should I do while I’m reading? What’s supposedly the best strategy after I’m done with the book?”

When you approach these questions with the attention they deserve, you easily reach a satisfying answer. The hard thing is understanding that there is something more than just reading. It’s a whole process.

As a book nerd and a you-can-get-me-out-of-the-library type of guy, I thought about this process a lot.

And instead of keeping what I found only to myself, I decided to create a mini-series of posts where I tackle the often neglected topic of reading. Consisting of four articles, this chain of resources aims to explain in detail what you can do before, during, and after reading to get the maximum out of the books you’re reading.

This current post serves just as a starting point.

To give you a quick overview of the articles that are already published on my site.

Before-During-After Reading Strategies

What To Do Before Reading a Book?

There are two components in this section:

  • Select the right book: To steadily advance both in your career and life in general, you need to first find the right book considering your current and desired position. In this first post about mastering reading, I explain how to strategically choose your next nonfiction book: Strategically Choose What Nonfiction Book To Read Next.
  • Tune your mind to reading: As athletes, and not only, stretch before a workout. Readers should warm up before trying to lift a heavy book. Here’s my take on what you should do before you attempt reading: What To Do Before You Start Reading.

What To Do During Reading a Book?

  • Have a while-reading strategy: Highlighting passages and taking notes are just some of the things you need to do while you’re reading. You need to also ensure that you’re focused on the task. Here are a couple of during-reading activities: What To Do When Reading a Book.

What To Do After Reading a Book?

  • Apply the contents of the book: You’re not done after you’re done with a book. In fact, this must be the beginning of a long process. A process of applying what has been learned and making corrections along the way. Here is a list of things to do after you finish reading a book: What To Do After You Finish Reading a Book.

Some Closing Thoughts

Reading in isolation – meaning without thinking about how you can use the text in your life – means that you’re reading for fun.

No harm there. But if you want to make changes in your life, the approach should be different.

To learn. To discover new ideas. To implement good reading habits (and remove bad reading habits). To apply the proposed solutions from the nonfiction books we’re so eager to complete. We need to adopt a new attitude when reading. That is, besides sharing the book online so others can potentially admire us. We need to actively perform the tasks proposed by the author.

This becomes even more important in our world of endless streams of information trying to steal our attention.

Access to information is no longer the problem. What hinders our advancement is our inability and our unwillingness to use the information we have access to. We commonly satisfy ourselves with merely consuming. Convinced by our fragile and intolerant of criticism inner self. We, after finishing a read, proudly conclude that need “one more” book before we make attempts for a change.

I hope that this series will help you be more mindful about reading. And, finally, apply in your life what authors so carefully place in their books.

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