How To Benefit From Business Books Without Reading Them All

How can I benefit from business books if I don’t have time to read? originally appeared on rate: the place to acquire and share knowledge, empower people to learn from others and better understand the world.

answers by Andrew Cohen, CEO at Brainscape rate:


As a little nerd who has dedicated his life to creating hyper-efficient processes for everything I can get my hands on, especially study, I have developed FOUR rules that can unlock even the best business advice if you have less than 10 minutes have to read.

You can feed your brain with these rules exactly the right information You must optimize yourself and remove all obstacles that stand in your way, which will lead you to great success in everything you do in business (and in life).

RULE 1: Find books RELEVANT to your situation and challenges.

Every entrepreneur, business owner, and idiot with a business blog is going to have dozens of book recommendations they swear by. But just because these people are successful doesn’t mean their recommendations are right for YOU or your situation, timing, business, and specific challenges. Instead, look for books that educate you about the specific challenges you are facing now or in the short to medium term.


For example expanding your team? Instead of mindlessly sifting through your “to-read” list, choose those that focus on management, leadership, and social dynamics.

RULE #2: Read only what you need

Since you’re constantly short of time, why not take a different approach to consuming business books by picking out the chapters most relevant to you? Alternatively, you can use a book summary service like Get Abstract or Blinkist, which will (in the best way possible) ruin the punchlines. If you can get the same value in 10 minutes of reading as you can in an hour, why not?

Alternatively, instead of committing to an entire book, search Google for the best and most relevant article, blog, or podcast that might fill in your knowledge gaps. It is worth keeping an eye on this route, at least temporarily.


RULE 3: Keep a book list

Book recommendations are piling up; and what you might NOT find valuable today might prove essential tomorrow. So my third rule is to create a book list and maintain it diligently. That means adding new recommendations as they arise and shuffling titles based on priority and relevance to you in the moment. Keeping this library handy will give you a great reference to turn to when you need advice or are wondering what to read next.

RULE #4: Use your reading time efficiently (and actionable)

Write down any thoughts, ideas, solutions, or inspirations as they come to mind. Importantly, by the end of this book, you’ll create actionable steps from your notes, such as: For example, a to-do list with reminders, an email to team members, or entries in the board of your project management app. Also: Discuss these new ideas with your team! Engaging with the lessons learned will (1) prevent you from forgetting them and (2) allow you to share your knowledge with your team.

Remember that no matter how little time you have, energy in = energy out. So unless you’re constantly tapping into knowledge and inspiration from other people – which is packed really well in books – you’re not necessarily keeping your understanding of business, people and the world up to date.


Hopefully these four rules will help you!

This question originally appeared on rate – the place to acquire and share knowledge, empower people to learn from others and better understand the world.

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