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June 16, 2009

News & Opinion: How To Read a (Business) Book - beta release

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 1:11 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I have been feverishly working on an essay on how to best read a business book. An ebook version of the piece is being given out to those attending the workshop I am doing with Kevin Eikenberry next week.
I want to pull out one section and get your thoughts.
Leave Your Mark
Recording what it is you learned from reading a book should happen both inside and outside that book.
First of all, get over any fear you have of writing in a book. Business books are meant to be interacted with. Take a pen and leave notes in the margins. Get out that pink highlighter you used in college and mark up passages that strike you. The guys at Brand Autopsy used to keep a Dog-Ear Score for the number of pages folded over by the time they reached the end. Tim Sanders, in his book Love Is the Killer App, suggested that important learning points be written on the first blank page in the front of the book and great quotes for future presentations be recorded on the inside back cover. Personally I became a fan of 3-M Post-It Flags in writing The 100 Best for quickly marking pages that I needed to return to later.
Now you need to share what you have learned with the world. It doesn’t matter how. Pick a form and a medium and go with it. Steve Cunningham at readitfor.me decided videos were the best way to share his passion for business books. Chris Yeh builds book outlines on a wiki. Sean wrote short reviews and provided mind maps drawn on brown paper bags. John Moore uses SlideShare and creates quick presentations with the “money quotes.”
Leaving marks in the book and leaving your own mark about what you learned will help you solve your problem and, in tandem, help others solve theirs.
How do you leave a mark when you read a book? What techniques do you use to improve your retention of the material? Would love to hear more ideas to include in this section.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.