📕The three principles I use to read dense books - Fridays Findings

📕The three principles I use to read dense books - Fridays Findings

👋 Hey Friends,

When sitting down and having a read with the books, we tend to procrastinate because we often get quickly reminded why we procrastinated reading them. They either are:

  1. ❌ Hard to get through because the explanations don’t stick with you
  2. ❌ Complicated explanations with difficult language
  3. ❌ Missing graphical input to visualise a certain concept or data

This list, of course, goes on and includes many things about why it can become difficult to go and read certain heavy text. Why have we initially bought them in the first place? Occasionally, your book doesn’t fit you, and you have made the wrong choice when buying it. But when the text that you’d like to be reading includes something that you want to learn and that you are interested in, then this is the first thing to remember and therefore my first strategy.

🧐 1. Remember why you were keen to learn about the subject.

Typically, as described, when reading certain texts we tend to procrastinate. Let’s see an example. I am currently trying to learn more about the theoretical foundation of physics, and that’s why I read the Feynman Lectures on Physics. The concepts of fields, potentials and classical mechanics stick with me very well, but I am struggling to bend my head around the concepts underlying special relativity.

That’s why I haven’t read any more of the book for about two weeks now. Every time I think about sitting down to study and learn more about it, I only see the difficult equations and the counterintuitive principles underlying the subject.

To bring back the motivation of actually wanting to study, I started to tell myself:

I was eager to learn about special relatives because it is the physical theory that profoundly changed our understanding of time.

This brought back my interest about two days ago, and I sat down and studied the text.

I didn’t hesitate to question the weird nature of time over and over again because I had the motivation to understand and learn the subject.

The defender against procrastination is motivation, and you get motivation by remembering what inspired you about the subject.

❌ 2. Some books are not for YOU! - Take Breaks

When I read a book and I realise that it is hard for me to get through the material and I cannot go further with strategy one, I sit back and reflect on the reading process:

  1. ✅ Do I like this book?
  2. 🧐 Does its content interest me?
  3. 😊 Do I feel joy when I finally understand a part of the material?

If you have asked yourself these questions, and cannot find a positive answer for any of them, it is certainly okay to leave the book by itself! That doesn’t have to mean that you are never going to read or try to read the book. It rather means that you take a little time to comprehend what you have already read and think about some other topics.
When I read the book “Sapiens” I nearly just forced myself to read it instead of reading it out of enjoyment. I left the book by itself for nearly a full year and read some other literature instead. Then I came back to the book and saw it from a different angle. It aligned more with the interesting things we were studying in history class, and I therefore had significantly more enjoyment while studying and reading this complicated piece of work.

When reading a book, it's not all about information but about enjoyment as well. So, when you have a book that doesn’t vibe with you, just put it away and pick it up in a few months or even years.

😉 3. Feel good when reading the book.

This is a bit of controversial advice coming from the world-famous quote:

Fake it until you make it.

When reading a book in which the content interests you, but you cannot get yourself to feel motivated while reading the book, it sometimes helps to understand that you are controlling your mind. When you have tried step 2, and you have taken a break from the book, but now you want to read it because it is something that genuinely interests you, tell your mind that reading the book is fun and the best thing you can do right now. The best way to do this is to:

👾 Gamifythe reading process

See the page count as levels you have to get through and every time you get through a certain page (level) you treat yourself with a little snack or even a short break. You can, of course, increase the intensity of the levels (the page count) over time. This way, the levels get more and more challenging. Through gamification, you are challenged but also interested in what you read, and you keep your mind occupied with the content and with the idea of finishing the level.

And after all, who is not happy after deafening that hard end-boss level? 😀

We can see that dense books are challenging to get through, but using simple strategies to rediscover your interest and feel good during the process helps to get through the book and have genuine fun along the way.

I hope that these tips help you get through some of your dense books and comment on what’s on your reading list! 😉

And here's a little cheat sheet for you to screenshot! 😎

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Thanks again and I'll see you soon.

Victor (@observethecosmos)

✍️ Quote of the week

"You keep on learning and learning, and pretty soon you learn something no one has learned before."
― Richard Feynman

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