What is the Best Way to Read Business and Tech Literature?
Hey! Anyone who follows updates on our site knows that we have a lot of material devoted to collections of technical literature. Without it, it is difficult to develop professionally, which is why we make book selections so often. Today we want to talk about how to read such literature correctly. Yes, you read everything right, technical literature, like business literature, must be read correctly in order not only to get motivation for 1 hour after reading, but so that what you read fits in your head and someone else's experience from books helps you in life or career.
One of the techniques that I follow is the binary tree technique. This is my personal theory, which will allow you to remember what you read not for one month, but for the rest of your life. I applied this technique not only when reading technical literature, but also when studying two foreign languages.
The idea is to read books or other useful material that the author refers to. Very simple, right? For example, the last book I read was Good to Great by Jim Collins. In it, the author refers to his previous books, to materials on related books, such as biographies of Hewlett and Packard, and many other materials.
It helps me a lot to remember what I read by studying related materials. So, I seem to build a complete picture and see the connections between events. Of course, the material to which the author makes a reference will also contain its own references, and so on ad infinitum. If you visualize such a technique, you get something like a binary tree.
Do not waste time on all the materials mentioned in the books, choose only those that you like the most. You can write down all the references from the beginning of the book to the end, and then choose one or even several from this list. So, besides, you will solve the problem of not knowing what to read on the weekends or in the evening before bed - I know that for many this is a problem.
Repeat. Don't Repeat
I think you have heard about this technique more than once, but I would like to expand it a little and make it more universal. Very often I have heard that in order to get the most out of a book, it is worth repeating everything that is written in it. Practicing on ready-made techniques from books, you take the maximum from the material. Well, there is some truth in this. But only some.
Take, for example, the Good to Great by Jim Collins book I mentioned earlier. It focuses on multi-billion dollar companies and analyzes how they faced success or further financial failure. Proponents of the "repeat after books" theory, please tell me - how can I create a company over the weekend to repeat everything I read? How can I replicate the company's top management practices if I, the reader, am 17 years old and work at KFC?
The repetition of techniques from books is more likely, for example, to business communication, business correspondence (because no matter how old you are and what you do, you will still come across business correspondence), and, of course, to all technical literature. It is necessary!
If you have read a book on how to automate the routine processes of your life in Python and have not written a single line of code while reading, then I have bad news for you - most likely you have wasted this time. If you're learning how to build networks, looking at diagrams in a textbook and studying them won't help you solve a real problem. You will be absolutely helpless when it comes to real cases.
Another thing I want to advise is to read the materials in the main language of their writing, that is, in the original, in the language in which the author itself wrote them. I understand perfectly well that our audience is mostly English-speaking, so I rather dedicate this part to those whose native language is not English. Most of the books and materials are written in English, so if a book has been translated into your native language, don't be tempted to look for the English version!
English is not my native language, but since my first year of university I have read technical and business literature only in the original language (mostly English, but rarely Spanish). The logic here is very simple - during the translation you lose technical vocabulary, because some translators, not understanding the meaning of some words, translate those terms that should not be translated. Translators do not understand that the word "framework" should be left and not translated.
Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but some people really translate the terms generally accepted in the industry. This will play a bad joke on you when you cannot speak the same technical language with colleagues, when they say framework, and you say conceptual structure (I hope I managed to save the pun). In a word, if possible, read literature in the language of the original spelling. Technical literature does not contain complex epithets, metaphors or double meanings, so reading it will be much easier than fiction.
Suppose you have chosen technical or business literature, bought it on Amazon, and you already have it in your hands. What's next? No, don't start reading. Decide on your goals. If you have already bought this book, then you have read its description, then you have a general idea of what this book is about, what it teaches and what material it contains. On this description, build your goals, that is, what you want to learn after reading, what you want to be able to do or what you want to pay attention to.
For example, if the book description says that the book will teach you the basics of business writing and how to communicate with customers so that they come back, then set yourself a goal while reading to strike a balance between polite and casual communication so that the client does not feel like a count from your polite communication, but communicated with you on an equal footing.
Goals like these help you decide what you want in general. After all, if you know what you want, then you know what to demand. You will no longer mindlessly read a book in the toilet on your lunch break, but you will look for answers to your questions that you asked the book before reading, you will try to achieve all the goals that you wrote out in advance.
To be honest, I read technical literature much more than business materials, so I based all my conclusions and advice on technical literature and how to read it correctly and effectively. Nevertheless, in the course of writing this article, I realized that my tips and techniques are perfect for those who prefer business literature and self-development materials, because they have one goal - to make us more productive and educated.