Takeaways from Writing about My Reading

This month I challenged myself to start writing about my reading. My goal was to write down—after I finished reading a book—the main concepts and new insights I formed. I’ve completed three books and started a fourth since that post. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Waiting until I’ve finished a book to begin writing posts isn’t optimal. The books are usually in the range of 200–400 pages, and I read them in multiple sessions. Waiting until the end to write a post increases the likelihood that I’ll miss something valuable. That didn’t feel like the right rhythm. It felt more organic for me to reflect more frequently on a smaller amount of content. I naturally ended up doing this with the books on Ken Langone (here and here) and Bernie Marcus (here and here). I wrote more than one post on each book. Every 100 or so pages felt like a good reflection rhythm. I think I’ll replicate and refine this rhythm going forward.
  • Some books I read are a historical recount of a period or business event. With this type of book, which is an author’s interpretation of what happened and why, I’m looking to understand what happened and whether similar things are occurring today. I read a book about the dot-com bubble and shared a post about a similarity I noticed between that period and today. Biographies and historical books are different. What I seek from each type of book is different. My expectations for my posts should reflect these differences.
  • Now, I’m reading the autobiography of a well-known, seasoned entrepreneur. So far, no concepts have caught my attention, and it hasn’t sparked me to form any new insights. Hopefully, this will change by the time I finish the book. I failed to consider that some books I read may not provide much value to me and hadn’t thought about how I’d handle posts in this situation. I’ve decided that I want my posts to be positive and bring value to others. If I don’t get value from a book, I won’t write a post about it.
  • I need to take notes and highlight important concepts as I read. Reviewing these is a key step in the process of reflecting and writing.

I’m enjoying the challenge so far. Looking forward to continuing next week and iterating as I learn more.