This book aims to help people who read with the intent of gaining knowledge; to do so effectively and efficiently. The Lifetime Learner’s Guide to Reading and Learning is written by Gary Hoover; an entrepreneur and also an avid reader. In this book, he outlines his tips on how you can read effectively and acquire the knowledge you need within a short period of time.
Hoover’s primary source of gaining knowledge is through the books that he has read. He claims that 80% of the knowledge he has acquired from reading cannot be found on the internet.
Hoover boasts of having a collection of 57,000 books in his personal library (I am slightly envious of this) and shares his method of “digesting” a book in under 30 minutes – without speed reading, scanning, or skimming the text.
The Lifetime Learner’s Guide to Readings and Learning is broken down into three sections:
- How to digest, find, and buy books.
- 160 important book recommendations.
- Ideas on how to be curious and creative.
The main reason I picked up this book was to improve my reading and gain the knowledge I needed efficiently and effectively. Thus, for the purpose of this summary, I will be concentrating on the first section.
I believe most avid readers would probably practice some of the methods outlined in the book, but for the sake of those who don’t, here are the tips outlined in the book to digest and remember a non-fiction book in 15-30 minutes. Hoover does add a disclaimer that his methods for “digesting” a book may not work for everyone all the time, and it won’t work for every book.
The first step: Familiarising and Understanding the Books Content
- Read the cover flap (for hardcover books) or front flap as it usually contains the summary of the book.
- Read the back flap (or back cover) for the author background and how his experience or belief might impact the content.
- Read testimonials.
- Look at the publisher and publication date (this is specifically useful for specialised fields).
- Go one step further and review feedback on the book online.
Step two: Reviewing the Table of Content and Indexes
The method that Hoover introduces in this section is quite interesting. The table of content is an essential page in getting the most out of the book your are reading. Review the chapter titles and jump straight into the chapter that provides the information you are looking for within the text.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO READ THE BOOK SEQUENTIALLY.
Hoover says, “You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. The book is your book, you have begun a conversation with the author, and you should feel free to interrupt, skip around, and ask questions at any time. If you give yourself this freedom, you will be amply rewarded.”
Step three: Diving Deeper
To understand the authors’ point of view, pay attention to the illustrations, photos, diagrams, charts, tables, or appendices. Hoover recommends that we “spend time on each, think deeply, draw your own conclusions before looking at the author’s interpretation.”
Read several pages of the book; the introduction, forward, preface, first chapter, and conclusion. These sections should be enough to give you a gist of the book’s concept and the relevant information. This process cuts out reading all the fluff.
You can also go through the Index and pick the topic you want to explore in the book.
This practice will allow you to understand the context without having to read the whole book.
Step four: Remembering what you read
The key to effectively learn from what you read is to make personal connections. We remember details better when we are engaged and intrigued by the information and how it connects personally to our own experience. This is the key to retaining what you learn.
Always take notes. Whatever method works for you; pen, highlighter, writing notes on the tablet or phone, it doesn’t matter. The point is to take notes of whatever interests you.
Hoover also advises not to put limits or boundaries while reading to learn. Instead, if the book doesn’t serve its purpose, is repetitive, and full of gibberish, move on and take on another book.
The book continues to the next section where Hoover shares recommendations on 160 books ranging from history to business and ideas on being curious and creative to help broaden your mind. I especially like one chapter in the book that shares ideas on how to think differently or unconventionally.
Favourite Quotes from the Book
- “I’ve come to believe that no attribute is more important to success than curiosity, though it is equaled by perseverance, self-efficacy, and passionate purposefulness.”
- “Intelligence is not about knowing everything, but about knowing where to find everything.”
- “I believe that curiosity, followed up with active, ambitious learning, is critical to success in every endeavour.“
- “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” – Winston Churchill
- “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” – Steve Jobs
- “You cannot know where you are going unless you know where you are coming from.”
- “If you compound what you learn on the Internet with the deeper more substantive information available only in books, you will have a great chance of seriously expanding your mind and your understanding of the how’s and why’s of the world around you.”
- “Don’t be stingy when you feed your mind.”
- “Wisdom begins in wonder.” – Socrates
- “Creativity is connecting things.” – Steve Jobs
Interesting books recommended by Hoover that I’d like to read:
- How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
- How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, by Michael J. Gelb
- A Whole New Mind: Why Right- Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
- Self- Efficacy: The Exercise of Control by Albert Bandura
- Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler