Triage helps you read the most critical materials first
In any good hospitalEmergency Room, doctors identify which patients need help first ± everyone else canwait. Heart attacks get first priority; cases of indigestion can wait a while. The sameprinciple applies to reading: you may have a large pile, but some reading material will bemore important than others.
aving a sense of clarity about what you¶re trying to do is necessary in order totriage your reading pile effectively
If you¶ve taken the time to clearly define yourgoals (i.e. ³what you want´), it¶s much easier to figure out if reading certain materials willhelp you get what you want.When I was in the middle of writing my book, I didn¶t check my blog reader for over fourmonths. That was okay: reading RSS feeds was not as important as writing chapters, soI made a conscious decision not to read them for a while. When in doubt, throw it out ordefer the reading to another time.
#3. Questions Before Content: The Power of Purpose-Setting
Effective non-fiction reading does NOT start with picking up the book
You canmultiply your reading effectiveness by taking a few minutes before you start reading todecide
why you¶re bothering to read in the first place
. I call this technique ³Purpose-Setting.´
urpose-Setting is the act of deciding what you want to learn by reading thismaterial
By figuring out what information would help you, what questions you wantanswered, and how you intend to apply the material, you¶ll make it much easier torecognize useful information when you find it.
I¶ve found the best way to purpose-set is to write down 8-10 questions on anindex card or in a notebook before opening the book
This effectively programsyour brain to look for the information you¶re trying to find ± a very important conceptcalled ³Priming.´
#4. Priming: The Benefit of a Quick Preview
riming is the act of ³programming´ your brain to notice certain things aboutyour environment
If you¶ve ever been interested in a certain type of car, only to findyou start seeing them EVERYWHERE you go, you know what priming feels like. Theuniverse hasn¶t unloaded thousands of new cars all over the highway ± they¶ve alwaysbeen there, but your brain filtered them out as irrelevant. Your interest changed thefilters, so you actually notice when they appear.
riming happens unconsciously, but you can control it if you know what you¶redoing
Purpose-Setting works because it gives you an opportunity to consciously ³prime´ your perceptual filters to notice information related to your interests. That¶s what allowsyou to read so quickly ± when you¶re sufficiently primed, you can skim through a bookquickly until your brain recognizes something as interesting or important. As you skim,you suddenly find your eyes stopping on the part of the text that relates to what you¶relooking for. It feels like magic, but it¶s just your brain doing its job.
Before you start reading, don¶t skip the two richest sources of priming materialin the book: the table of contents and the index
The TOC gives you information