One of the mental constraints I have when I learn something new is that I can’t get into the details before I get an overview.

When I go into the details wihout an overview I may understand them but I don’t feel like I have remembered anything. The details dont have a place to hang in.

I have developed a system of quickly gathering an overview of any book I read. Then I get into the most relevant details of of the areas I need to learn and then I get into other chapters.

How to get an overview

  1. Read the introduction.
  2. Read the conclusion at the end of the book.
  3. Read the summaries/salient points at the end of every chapter.

By the end of this you get a pretty good overview of what is in the book. If the summaries are well written then you will have a pretty good idea of the important ideas covered in the book.

As you go through this process you may find yourself redoing the steps mentioned a couple of times but that should be fine.

Most recently I have done this with “Thinking slow and fast”. Let me know your experience of trying this with any books you read.