How to read business books in less than 15 minutes
Business books are a cheap way of improving your business education without a large time commitment or financial outlay.
For many years I’ve been a big fan of buying business books. In fact I’ve got shelves stacked high with them in my office and even some boxes of them in my parents garage.
Some of them I’ve actually read.
Books are cheap, easily portable and potentially full of profitable ideas. But there lies several problems:
1. Overbuying because they are cheap
2. Books take time to read and discover the profitable ideas
3. You never have them to hand when you need them
Now some of these problems can be overcome by not going into bookshops and only buying the Kindle version, so you can always have the book with you whether that’s on your iPad, iPhone or Kindle itself.
But there’s one problem which can’t be totally overcome – the time it takes to read.
Discover how you can discover more profitable ideas in less time from books
Sure you can reduce the time it takes to read each book by taking speed reading course or by following these steps:
1) reduce your number of fixations per line
2) eliminate back skipping/tracking to re read a point
3) increasing your peripheral version
fortunately Tim Ferriss writing on the 4 hour work week blog describes this process perfectly and demonstrates how you can reduce the time taken to read a book or article by up to 1/3rd.
I’d strongly recommend that you read this article or at least look in to speed reading because it’s an important life skill which will have a long lasting return on investment and save you a lot of time.
Book summaries #1
One of the alternative approaches that I’ve used is buying book summaries and I currently subscribe to Soundview book summaries.These are professionally written book summaries produced by editors and therefore do a great job of reducing the time taken to read each book but still manage to convey the major points and ideas from the book in 4/5 pages. The book summaries are in multiple format for Kindle, iPhone or PDF and available to download so you can read them when you’re offline. With about 3-4 book summaries produced each month the cost per book equates to about $2 a month, which actually is a fraction of the cost of the books themselves, but as its paid as an annual subscription of $99 it might be a big slug all at once.
Another approach that Ive also tried is listening to audio books through Audible.com. which as you might have guessed is a site full of audio books which you can download and listed to via iTunes. The choice of books is huge and they regularly add new editions. Audio books are really great when you have a long drive or are working out at the gym. You can Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook! [aff link] when you take out a 14 day trial (but the audio book is yours to keep whatever you decide)
Audible has several different pricing options ranging from pay as you go to a monthly subscription model allowing you so many credits per month. If you want to see if it’s for you, Try Audible Now and on a 14 Day Trial and choose from over 100,000 Titles.
The downside of Audible is not so much a problem of the Audible, or the format, but where you listen to the audio book. For example If you’re listening to the book in the car then you’ll appreciate it’s difficult to take notes. Another problem is that they take time to listen to. Walt Isaccson’s excellent biography of Steve Jobs takes way over 20hrs, which is a lot of listening time. I know some people listen to audio books speeded up, but I really can’t see it being an enjoyable listening experience. In my opinion an audio book is best for novels.
Book summaries #2
More recently I’ve come across an alternative approach which allows me to get the key points from the business book in less than 15 minutes a book. It’s actually around 12 minutes per book, which means that you can pick up the key points from a book very quickly. More importantly you can start putting what you’ve learned into action straightaway.
It’s called Readitfor.me and it’s a book summary put together using inspiring videos or colourful PDF’s. The added bonus is that it includes a workbook to ensure you get the most out of the book.
It basically takes the best ideas from business and personal development books and summarises them into a 12 minute video. Like this one for The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.
Each week Readitforme summarise a new book and they suggest that you commit to a time and place as to when you will watch the videos. I personally watch one first thing on a Monday morning. Most people can spare 15 minutes at least once a week to “read a book” and the video format makes it extremely easy to learn in a very short period of time.
You can try Readitforme free for 7 days without any commitment or credit card details and watch as many videos or read as many summaries as you like.
As Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com says:
“We use Readitfor.me here at Zappos, and we love it. Pursuing growth and learning is one of our core values, and Readitfor.me lets us do that in a fun and engaging way”
This really is one of the best things I’ve come across in a while.