Reading Effectively

I’ve spent the past 10 years reading technical books while teaching myself software engineering. That’s a long time and a lot of books. I don’t think I would have done it had I not fallen in love with reading.

That said, I believe books are too long. Here are some tips to get the most out of your reading.

Read what matters

Read what matters: things that help your current life situation.

Reading is more effective when you can relate to the material. Apply it in the real world for it to stick.

Read what’s interesting

It doesn’t matter what it is; just read, even if it’s a children’s book, fairy tales, or comic books. I still read my Genius Squad book when I need some comfort.

Drop books

The moment a book stops being interesting, drop it. Move on to the next one. “What if there’s something important a few pages away?” there isn’t.

As I said, books are too long. Most of their information is at the beginning.

Reading the table of contents will make you feel less guilty about this.

Table of Contents

Read and memorize the table of contents. It gives you the most amount of information per square inch.

When you decide to drop a book, you can feel at ease knowing you read the table of contents. If a chapter becomes relevant, you will have an idea of where to go.

Jump around

Traverse the book however you want. No, you’re not missing out on stuff.


The point isn’t the act of reading. The point is learning or entertainment. Who cares how you get it done.

Audiobooks are a great scouting tool. They can be finished quicker than books and can help you decide what is worth investing more time into.

Lastly, if you’re into podcasts, consider replacing some with audiobooks. Podcasts can be educational but are shallow when compared to books.