During my studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, they taught us how to ransack a book: How to get the basic gist of a book in an hour or less. Most of the time I read a book cover to cover but every now and then when I am time poor and the book has to be read, this lesson on ransacking a book has proved to be invaluable. Now ransacking a book will not give you the same depth of understanding on the topic of the book as reading it fully, but there are times when the level of knowledge out of the book that you can pull out from ransacking it, is sufficient. So if you want to ransack a book here are the steps.
1) Read the back cover.
2) Read the Preface.
3) Google the author:
Find out as much as you can about the author in ten mins. You want to look for things like, Nationality, family background, theological background, if and where did they study, career, experiences: all these type of things colour the way the writer writes and their position on topics.
4) Look at the table of contents as this gives you the direction of the book. See if there are one or two chapters that stand out as being particularly pertinent to the book’s subject matter or relevant to what you need to know on the topic. If there are chapters like that, read them.
5) Read the introduction.
6) Read the first chapter.
7) Read the last chapter.
8) Spend 15 minutes flicking through the book and see what grabs you. Some books have highlighted quotes, chapter synopsis, chapter summaries: read whatever catches your eye.
9) Google a book report on the book. Read that.
If you do these 9 steps you will have the essence of the book. I have used this methodology to read a book in under an hour, I have then written a book report on the book and submitted it and got a HD, so I know this works.
Hope it helps you.
Categories: Book Reviews