Dave Lovemartin

Reading non-fiction

Treat non-fiction books differently

last tended: 22.02.2024

When reading a story we follow the narrative page-by-page.

But life is too short to read non-fiction books cover-to-cover in this linear fashion. Often there may be a few key ideas that the book contains and the rest is just filler.

Here’s my process for reading non-fiction:

Make “literature notes” by underlining passages that intrigue you as you find them, write notes in your own words, paraphrasing as you go.

When you have finished your first pass of the book, create permanent notes from the literature notes. I use obsidian but I’ve seen this system set up using physical index cards.

Don’t just capture ideas, merge the insight from the book with other ideas, make them relevant to other things you are working on.

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