Farnam Street – How to Read a Book
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How to Read a Book
Our Definitive Course to Reading for Insight & Understanding
“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.”
You know how to read a book. You probably learned how in elementary school.
But do you read optimally?
Do you get the most out of every hour you invest in a book?
If you’re like most people, the answer is “not even close.”
And, there is a huge opportunity to become more skillful at reading, retention and understanding.
If you’re a knowledge worker there is no better investment.
You are paid to use your brain — it pays to make your brain as powerful and high performing as possible.
Imagine making better decisions just a few times a week… What would that mean for your career? Your life?
There is a proven path to getting smarter: Read, a lot.
Most people go through life without getting any smarter. But the consistently successful — they get smarter, day in and day out.
You can too.
Billionaires Charlie Munger & Warren Buffett estimate that they spend 80% of their day reading.
To paraphrase Buffett, reading for understanding is like compound interest. It builds upon itself to become exponentially more powerful over time.
But to read effectively we need to do more than the simple cover-to-cover style reading we learned in school.
We need to do the mental work required to hold an opinion.
This can be challenging and it’s not something most of us were taught. But the reward to hard work is true insight and practical wisdom.
While there is nothing wrong with easy reading, it’s not the kind of reading that will help you go to bed smarter.
Reading for insight & understanding gives you an edge.
We all want an edge. At work. At home. Inside our own minds.
Going to bed smarter, every day, is the ultimate edge. It’s exponential and it continues to sharpen with time.
The fastest route to your edge is to master the best of what people have already figured out. That is what Farnam Street is all about.
There are many ways and reasons to read. In this course we focus on reading to gain an edge: the wisdom and insight needed to advance in the face of today’s challenges.
Introducing the Farnam Street Guide to
How to Read a Book
Farnam Street’s How to Read a Book is a comprehensive online training course that teaches you how to make the absolute most of your reading.
The only prerequisite is an earnest desire to learn & improve.
The course spans 5 modules and includes videos, intimate audio conversations, executive summaries and organized links. While it is designed to be consumed online, the components are downloadable.
How to Read a Book will officially kick off on February 2nd. As soon as it opens, you’ll be able to access all of our How to Read a Book content and self study, at your own pace. The content is yours to keep forever, so there is no rush or pressure.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll learn to do:
Build a Reading Habit
Waking up smarter every day requires a commitment. We share how we read 100+ books a year — and how you can find the time too.
Optimize Your Reading
When you get clear why you’re reading everything changes. We show you how to connect your reading to your ambitions.
Gain Valuable Insights
This is the whole point.
We’ll find your edge and learn to stretch it every day. Your potential as a learning machine is limitless.
Focus on What Matters
Books & ideas are not created equally. We’ll share the tools that helps us determine where to focus and why.
Quit the Best Seller List
Get off the treadmill: there’s a better way to find books. You’ll learn our system to discover books worthy of your attention.
Multiply Your Rewards
We teach you to identify the potential exponential rewards, and how to focus your hard work on achieving them.
How to Read a Book Is Comprehensive:
Module Two: Identifying Winners
Learn how to think about your library and why you should own more unread books than read ones
Use Farnam Street’s funneling process to make your books compete for attention before you even think of reading them
Weigh reading a book versus an article quickly and effectively
You’ll never forget to ask yourself the most important question about a book after you see how we frame it
Banish book overwhelm by implementing the four filters Farnam Street uses when deciding to read a book
Module Three: Before We Begin
Most books don’t demand to be read in their entirety… we’ll show you how to decide which do
Why you should start by creating a map of the book — and how to do it in about 15 minutes
How to evaluate a book in 5-10 minutes online or in a bookstore
Engage with a fascinating conversation about reading habits and why Shane reads several books at once
What the Marshmallow Test can teach us about reading effectively
How to spot the single biggest opportunity for most readers. It’s simple, yet powerful
Module Four: Critical Thinking
Find out why note taking matters and the surprising ‘non-system’ system that works for us
Understand the three key steps of analytical reading, including the one almost everyone skips
Evaluate how well you stand up to Shane’s definition of the job of a reader, it’s probably not what you think
Learn to identify when you need to read with extra caution — hint: it’s not when the reading is challenging
Quickly probe at your depth of understanding with our favorite deep reading question: Do I agree with the author?
Channel your learning effectively once you’ve finished the book
Module Five: Exponential Leaps
Our favorite module! This is where exponential wins start stacking up
Generate deep understanding through our process of refereeing the conversation
Hone your ability to spot when a good narrative is covering up faulty logic or misleading facts
Become skilled at the tricky task of comparing and contrasting ideas across context and perspective
Use combinatory play while reading to aid your quest for insight
Learn to spot and gain deep understanding of building blocks and cornerstone ideas
Effectively parse out your own ideas, opinions and insights from your reading
Develop novel insights naturally, as the result of the process
A BONUS WEBINAR:
60+ Minutes of Great Questions
Watch or listen to our no holds barred Q&A webinar. We answer dozens of the most pressing and interesting questions about books, reading, Farnam Street… we even get personal.
This is a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes with Farnam Street and fellow Farnam Street readers.
You asked. We answered.