how to read effectively

How to Read Business Books Effectively (& Not Feel Overwhelmed)

25 February 2021 | by Gina Lucia

In this article I’m going to teach you how to read business books effectively and how to not feel overwhelmed when reading business books. With my techniques for reading business books.

If you watched my 30-day reading challenge then you’ll know I wasn’t always the most responsible reader when it came to business books.

I used to read them in mass quantities, either forgetting absolutely everything I read immediately, or I’d attempt to implement everything I read which never worked and always ended in disaster.

You simply can’t balance a rediculous blog schedule, with starting a podcast, managing an Instagram page and building an email list with tones of freebies all at the same time. 

Unless you have a team of people or money to help you out. But that’s an article for another day.

How to Read Business Books Effectively

Let’s just say I’ve learnt from my mistakes because now I’m able to read business books effectively, absorbing as much relevant information as possible, all while not feeling overwhelmed. 

I can honestly say this, especially after reading a business book every day for a month.

So in this article, I’m going to share my techniques with you, because investing in yourself by reading business books is one of the best possible ways you can grow as a business owner.

So let’s start with the basics. 

pick business book

Pick books that are relevant to you

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made when reading business books, was picking books that were irrelevant to me.

Reading a business book isn’t like reading a fiction book, at least it isn’t for me.

If you’re reading a business book (and by the way I do count personal development because you’re investing in you as a business owner), you’re having to absorb information you might need to reference and act on later. There’s likely less story and more fact.

So when you’re picking the books you’re going to read, you need to make sure they’re on topics that you’re going to get value from. 

The last thing you want to do is pick a book that uses a lot of your mental energy to read and doesn’t give you anything in return.

For example, I know I prefer books that talk less about traditional business topics like business structure and instead focus on alternative ways of working like deep work, slow business and business mindset.

Make sure you know yourself and your business before you pick the books you’re going to read. 

This way you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll enjoy reading business books, rather than feel overwhelmed by them.

Start taking notes

Okay next, and this is important, I highly recommend you take notes.

The idea of taking notes while you’re reading seems a bit like we’ve gone back to University but honestly, if you take notes while you read, you’ll retain more information and you’ll be able to act on it better once you’re done reading.

This is part of a process known as active reading.

Active reading simply means reading something with a determination to understand and evaluate it for its relevance to your needs.

Essentially, you’re looking at the book critically to find the information that’s relevant to you. 

This topic deserves its own article which I’ll be releasing soon. But you’ll want to have a notepad or piece of paper with you while you read so you can write down any thoughts that come to mind while you’re reading. 

taking notes while reading

Make sure to jot down the page number next to the thought so you can read the page which caused the thought later. 

I recommend this over writing in the book itself because you’ll have a piece of paper separate from the book which you’ll be able to translate and make useable afterwards.

I’ll explain this in more detail in next week’s article.

The simple act of writing your thought down like this will solidify it in your mind.

Teach others what you’ve learned

Okay, so you’ve been reading the book you carefully selected and have been taking notes, the next thing you’ll want to make sure you do is either:

  1. Talk about the book with someone else
  1. Or teach what you’ve learnt to someone else

This part is critical especially if you want to solidify something important in your mind. 

As studies have shown, the learning-by-teaching effect works remarkably well.

I’ve used this by talking about the books I’ve been reading with my family and friends. I’ve also used this by teaching what I’ve learnt to you on YouTube, or here in blog pots. 

By doing this, the techniques I’ve learned, especially the ones I’ve put into videos, have lodged themselves in my mind for when I need them.

Of course, this would work similarly well if you wanted to actually implement what you’ve read in your own business, as the simple act of proactively doing, will inevitably help you remember.

Remove distractions

This point goes without saying, but in order to read any book effectively, you need to make sure you remove as many distractions as possible.

Especially when reading business books, a distraction could be the difference between absorbing the information and completely forgetting it.

You know those times when you try to read the same sentence over and over because something is distracting you. As much as you possibly can, remove any distractions from your reading area. 

This means no phone, no clutter and let the people you live with know you’re not to be disturbed. Reading time is sacred after all!

Be objective

I want to make another very important point, it’s so important for us as readers to make sure we’re objective when reading these advice-heavy books. 

  • Your experience reading the same business book will be different from mine. 
  • The advice you take away from the same book will also probably be different from mine.

The very important key is to be objective. 

Just like when you picked the book in the first place, you need to make sure you know what kind of business you want to run, or already run and your business style. 

That way you can take and leave advice as it relates to YOU personally. There’s nothing worse than taking everyone else’s advice, implementing it and realising it wasn’t for you in the first place. 

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Okay so you tell me, do you have any tips for how to read effectively?

How do you read without feeling overwhelmed? Leave me a comment because I’d love to know.