Speed reading technique #26: Rd smrys – Read summaries
Reading summaries is the quickest way of getting the book’s message, overview and context.
“Brevity is the soul of wit.” William Shakespeare
Research on summaries shows that people remember more (and for longer) after reading a summary than they do after reading the whole book. When you are previewing a book, always check whether it contains chapter summaries which quickly give you an overview of what the book is about.
As you read, look out for phrases which indicate that the author is giving a summary, eg ‘to sum up’, ‘in summary’, ‘in short’, ‘in a nutshell’.
Even better, find a summary of the complete book – there are lots of compilations of summaries published as books or online. Often a good review will give you a summary of the book’s key message. (See Resources for collections of summaries or check out our speed reading blog which has many summaries of the top and relevant books)
Take notes from the summaries on a mindmap or rhizomap (speed reading technique #17) as you would from the whole book.
By the way …You will usually read a summary more slowly than you would read a ‘normal’ book because the information is so dense. But if you think of reading as ‘information gained in relation to time spent’ (rather than ‘how fast am I reading?’ speed reading technique #3), summaries are an excellent investment of time.