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Reading Hack: Skip to the Punchline of Any Book

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Reading Hack: Skip to the Punchline of Any Book

In many books, authors will preface their “lessons” with stories and parables about their lives or others lives in order to solidify a lesson. Learn how to automatically skip to the ending with these reading hacks and still understand the lesson at the end of the day.

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While learning the broad strokes of a specific subject may be in your modus operandi if you’re reading books purely through a hobby or interest point of view, the devil will often be in the details if understanding said subject is imperative to your job or school work.
With that being said, here are several tips that you can use to skip the stories and get straight to the hard lessons that are often the crux of any book:

  1. Read the reviews.

    Background knowledge of the whole book will help filter any non important information, and will even help determine if the book has information that you are seeking out. Several online book stores often leave the option of leaving a review, so be sure to get a wide variety of opinions, reading both the good reviews and bad reviews before making a decision to purchase the book.

    reading books

    • Skip straight to the ending.

      Ruin the ending and find out the theme of the book. This can be found through either the table of contents, the notary side of the book, or by finding a “Cliff Notes” variation of the book. By doing this you can avoid any stories and get straight to the lessons and bulletpoints that will help you understand whole concepts better.

    • Speed reading isn’t necessary, but it is helpful.

      Like training for a sport, practicing technique is useful, even in regards to reading. “The real idea behind speed reading is that you know how and when to speed up and when to slow down. With a few basic techniques you can get a sizable increase on your maximum speed,” says speed reader and productivity hacker Scott H Young.

    • Look up information you don’t understand.

      If you’re reading about themes that are a bit beyond your current knowledge level, read the sources that the book cites. If there is no citation, Google the terms or phrases that are unfamiliar to you.

    • Use a “swarm” strategy and find other venues for information.

      Learn everything about the subject, not just from a book’s point of view. There will be subject experts that write hundreds of pages within [multiple] books that may take hours to read, but at the same time there may be audio that the same expert was interviewed in that covers the main topics within a half hour podcast.

    • Fill “gap time” with reading.

      If you’re truly dedicated to reading a book, you’ll have to make time for reading, not just have it as an afterthought on your bedside counter. Find time during your day such as that 10-15 minute wait at the dentist, that train commute (e-books on your phone make it easier to carry your books with you), or other noticeable gaps of time where you find yourself with a larger than average break in time.

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    Last Updated on November 22, 2021

    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

    Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

    During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

    But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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    Simplify

    I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

    Absolutely.

    And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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    If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

    • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
    • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
    • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

    Be Mindful

    You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

    Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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    Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

    Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

    Reflect

    As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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    Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

    But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

    So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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    Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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