I’ve always enjoyed reading. I am conscious that I spend a lot of time using my smartphone every single day, but I have tried to use that for my benefit and read good stuff while I am there.
But, as in all areas of life, I believe the way we read impacts the knowledge we are able to acquire. And that’s why these last 5-7 years (at least) I’ve developed 6 reading levels which I apply throughout my week in order to ensure that every single week I’m evolving a little more compared (just) to myself in the past.
And this is not about creating absurd reading goals. If you’re not a voracious reader, don’t commit to reading more books than you can handle. In other words, don’t set high goals that you probably won’t be able to reach.
The best way to consistently read more is to intentionally dedicate more time to reading. Seems easy, right?
Wake up a little earlier each day and read while you drink your coffee, dedicate the half-hour before bedtime to reading, or spend your lunch breaks with a book.
As you make reading a regular part of your schedule, it will become an ingrained habit.
Reading to Have Fun
What is that: these novels, fun readings, classics, sports readings, and things that don’t need deep thought and bring us pleasure while reading.
Examples: novels, comics, comedy, sports, memes, social media stuff, etc
Having only technical and professional reading in your routine can tire your brain quickly. I really like to bring some readings that amuse me and let the hours pass without noticing. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.
I clearly feel that this kind of reading helps me a lot to be more creative. And these readings help you make brain connections that would not otherwise be possible. Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided.
Reading Industry and World Updates
What is that: updates about the market, industry, technologies, the economy, and other information or news that help us stay up to date about the world and participate in every conversation.
Examples: newsletters, social media updates, good and trustworthy websites or newspapers, etc
You go to your company’s happy hour. A funny and relaxed time, but everyone is talking about the new technology that China is building and controlling the market and how other companies from the West are responding to these technologies. Suddenly comes that tense moment when someone looks at you, hoping that some really cool opinion about it might emerge from you. But you keep hiding behind the glass because you have no idea what they’re talking about.
This feeling is horrible. And I know that trying to know everything is impossible and silly, but having the opportunity and the tools to be up-to-date on the world and not use it, is also silly. In addition to knowing what’s going on in the world around you, it’s crucial to know what’s going on in the industry you work for.
Reading Non-Technical Articles
What is that: articles that don’t come from research or exploratory learning but help us stay up to date about the industry and the world.
Examples: websites & blog articles, personal experiences, companies updates, etc
Reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm while reading self-help books has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and mild mental illnesses. If you want to read something of your interest, you can just search it on the internet, and you will find out a lot of things regarding just one topic. So you can just choose any of them and can start reading in no time.
Different people, different views – you will get to know the other side of the coin. There are a lot of bloggers in this world who are sharing their knowledge, and their experiences with us. If we go through the writings of different people on the same subject, we will find different views. We realize that there can be many aspects of a particular topic.
We want to excel in everything we do and for that, we should be well-versed and well-informed. Reading personal experiences gives us insight into every untouched aspect of the subject we are reading. So, this way you will be able to explore more.
Reading Non-Technical Books
What is that: books that don’t have specific research as background and share opinions or personal experiences.
Examples: opinion books, politics, personal issues & experiences, etc
There’s a reading genre for every literate person on the planet, and whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, self-help guides, street lit, or business texts, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination.
Reading is entertainment that you can consume while you are sitting relaxed in a comfortable chair or in the corner of your couch. You’ll block out the world for a time, and that is exactly what your brain needs once in a while. To get a break from its usual stress. It’s also a lot better than watching a movie since you get more out of it than just relaxing.
Reading Technical & Scientific Articles or Papers
What is that: articles or papers that have industrial or academic research as background
Examples: business magazines, business & scientific articles, science & academy magazines, etc
Some sources: Fortune Magazine, The Economist, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, MIT Technology Review, PM Network, Project Management Journal, McKinsey Papers, Boston Consulting Group Papers, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Project Management Institute Papers, Overall University Papers, Overall Consulting Papers, etc
Reading a scientific paper is a completely different process from reading an article in a blog or newspaper. Not only do you read the sections in a different order than they’re presented, but you also have to take notes, read it multiple times, and probably go look up other papers in order to understand some details. Reading a single paper may take you a very long time at first, but this will go much faster as you gain experience.
I see that leaders usually don’t have the time to battle the inaccessible prose of academic articles. But this is a brain exercise. Reading journal articles is a skill and, like any other skill, how you approach it makes a big difference. So it’s not just a question of how to read a journal article, but how to learn how to do it. Learning how to read an article effectively is as important as writing it.
It’s amazing to me, to see how reading research-based business magazines has significantly improved the way I am able to express my opinion and make decisions on a daily basis at work.
Decisions based on data make better leaders, and reading these business magazines helps me to stay up to date about what is happening in both the academic and business worlds around me.
Reading Deep Technical Books
What is that: books that have research as background and create completely new knowledge or deepen some knowledge
Examples: business, industry, tech, economy, history, philosophy, cases, biographies, science, classic reading, etc
These books are the ones that I need to read carefully every single word and reflect on that because it is something that I need to learn and confront with everything that I already know.
You’ll think a lot while reading. You have to keep parts of what you have read in memory and recall information while reading. It’s a great way to do some real word-brain training. You’ll learn new concepts and ideas that will help you form a more nuanced look at the world. New knowledge can be used to tackle different situations in a better way. More knowledge is always helpful for anyone.
Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods.
When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story — the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing.
Now that you know something about my reading process and my personal 6 levels of reading for every single week, you might be curious to know a little about what I’ve been reading each week.
Well, as someone who really reads a lot, I like to share a little of what I’ve been learning from different sources, through magazines, articles, blogs, newspapers, etc.
And every week I create an article sharing some of the best things I read during that week, even though I don’t always agree with the author.
Weekly Pulse is content curation and highlights from readings, books, videos, podcasts, insights, ramblings, and other interesting things I discovered and digested during the last week.
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Do you want to check previous posts about Productivity and Self-Management? Check these from the last couple of weeks:
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