Increase your understanding of important books with this one weird trick.
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” — Francis Bacon
If you want to understand a topic, write about it.
I summarized Jordan Peterson’s bestselling book, “12 Rules for Life”, in the last twelve days. I tried reading this book in the past, but was turned off by the verbosity with which he used to describe simple concepts. It was a good exercise and helped me really understand what he was trying to say…I think.
In the words of Mortimer Adler (How to Read a Book), I have come to terms with the author.
Some books are more important than others. Those books deserve this type of attention in my opinion. Here are some things I have learned after devoting the last 12 Ship essays to this book.
- Understand how authors use real estate. Some areas are beachfront property. Some are not that premium. Beginnings of paragraphs are important. Chapter summaries are as well. Although authors rarely identify them. You’ll have to figure that out. It’s usually towards the end of the chapter (surprise).
- Skim the Table of Contents to tease out some themes the author may have glossed over in the introduction or preface. This was useless in books that have cryptic titles for chapters, like Peterson’s book. Some chapter titles had nothing to do with the chapter’s message, at least on the surface.
- Write about it. Package it for mass consumption (one can only hope). There is a higher level of accountability when you are writing for someone else. You can’t write about it without understanding it yourself.
The last 12 essays emphasized the importance of writing for understanding.
If you want to understand, write.
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