When I was in school I hated reading. I loved stories but whenever I read a book, I found myself starting a new page while struggling to remember the previous one. Maybe you can relate.

When I started to read books on business, success, and marketing, I was determined to get the most out of them. The value of a book doesn’t come from reading it. It comes from acting on what you’ve read.

Fast forward to today and I read 2 books per week on average. My office is full of hundreds if not thousands of books that I’ve learned something from. (I don’t keep the ones that I don’t like or didn’t learn anything from)

Reading is a big factor in determining your success. The types of books you read matters. But how do you get the most out of one when you read it?

Here are a few tips:

– Read the book as if the author is speaking to you and you alone. This is easy to do with many books because some authors write in such a way that you feel they wrote the book just for you. (My personal opinion is that Napoleon Hill was the best at this. Today, Chris Brogan excels at this more than anyone.) If the writing style doesn’t allow that to come naturally, then use your imagination. The more you feel a book is for you, the more you will take from it.

– Read with a goal in mind. Don’t read a book just because it’s new and your friends are blogging about it. Read it because it contains a piece of information that you need to move closer to one of your goals. Decide on what you’re looking for before you open the book. This one distinction will transform the way you read and ultimately the results you get on a daily basis.

– Take Notes as you read. Write notes to yourself in the margins, at the beginning and end of chapters, and any other blank page in the book. (I once wrote 52 email subject lines to test in the back cover of a book I was reading while flying to Chicago) If you read digital books then keep a small notepad handy to capture your thoughts and ideas.

– Use the back pages of the book to list your action steps. As you’re reading you’ll come across many things you need to do. (assuming the book is any good). Make a check list in the back of the book as you go so that when you’ve finished reading it you’re ready to rock.

– Transfer your notes to a notepad. Whether it’s Evernote or a traditional notepad, don’t let your ah-ha moments be left in the book to die. You’ll refresh your memory by transferring them to another place and you’ll have a library full of quality information and resources in no time.

I will often read a book once to get a general idea of the content and concepts within it. Then I will read it again looking for specific details. And in many cases, I will read the book again at a later date to keep my memory fresh.

The best books I re-read regularly. Some once a year, and others once a quarter.

Abraham Lincoln was an avid reader but he also devoted time for reflection to process what he learned. You’d be wise to develop this habit yourself. Try it for the next 2 books you read and notice the difference it makes.

Remember that the value from a book comes from what you take and implement into your life and business.

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