How I Consume Books I Value the Most

Over the years, I’ve used Audible to enhance my book consumption. I like the service and have found it useful when I’m doing other tasks, such as driving or exercising on a treadmill. It isn’t the ideal way to consume all books, though, especially the ones I value most.

The books I value most teach me something new or enrich my understanding of something. This means I’m usually reading the thoughts of someone who understands a topic far better than I do. I need to maximize my understanding by taking notes, highlighting important sections, trying mathematical formulas with my own numbers, etc. This is best done when I’m singularly focused on what I’m reading, not multitasking. And it’s best when I have a way to capture my reactions to or thoughts about what I’m reading.

For these reasons, I consume this kind of book the old-fashioned way: I read the physical book. I get a lot of value from having it. Annotating the book improves my comprehension and makes it easy to find key concepts and refresh my recollection of them. It also means that I’m usually focused on reading the book and not doing anything else.

I think services like Audible and devices like Kindles are great, and I love them, but I get the most value from certain kinds of books by consuming them the old-fashioned way.