#034 | Reading is the Easy part

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Hey friends,

A study shown that the average person read about 12 books a year.

In fact, the real number of books read per year is said to be lower.

But that’s not the problem.

Reading is not about the quantity; the number of books you have read.

(Okay it is also about the quantity but that’s for another newsletter)

Reading is about how much you have absorbed / learned AND more importantly, what actions have you taken that was the result of your reading.

Obviously, this is more applicable to non-fiction books.

There are two types of reading: passive and active.

What most people considered to be reading is passive reading.


Because it is easy. Or because active reading is harder (but higher reward).

Just like how reading lecture notes is easy but doing active recall + space repetition + interleaving + concept maps is hard but effective.

So what’s active reading?

Active reading is to THINK about what you have read / learned.

Thinking, most often, creates output. The output can be a concept map that organises all the information in the book such that you have properly understand how everything fits together as well as the details of different concepts. The output can be connecting what you have learned to ideas from another book. The output can be new habits you add to your daily routines.

Active reading allows you to absorb the information to another level.

So how do you do active reading?

Here’s my pipeline:

  1. Read (or listen) and Highlight key information (passive reading)

  2. Focus on your highlights and start to map out and draw links on how everything fits together. Sometimes, this is easy if the book has a very obvious structure but even then, you can come up with your own ways of putting things together

  3. Create an output. This can be a concept map, showcasing how you link the information together. It can be an action. The goal here is to THINK about the information you have consumed

Passive reading takes me about 3 - 5 hours depending on the size of the book. Step 2 and 3 can take me at least twice the time, not to mention if it’s a new action, it would take longer to execute and collect data.

Reading is the easy part…

Understanding is the hard part…

Taking actions is the harder part…

🔥 Actionable Knowledge

Learn to do active reading. Stop reading books after books, papers after papers, videos after videos… I promise you that even if you do active reading for one book, your knowledge and execution power would be at a different level. Try it out :)

I would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts by replying to this email 😊

Thanks for reading everyone. Have a good week ahead! 🎮

All the best,

Ryan O

Current Stats: 12.2% action rate <— Read 45 books | Taken actions on at least 5 books

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