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Reading is useless if you don't understand what you read.

By Saish Bhise

Reading is like an exercise in your mind. Studies have shown that regular reading is known to develop new neural pathways and re-strengthen the existing ones. Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest people on the planet reportedly reads 80% of his time.

Read 500 pages…every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.
— Warren Buffet

I diligently remember the first book I read. It was the famous British fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I vividly remember the bright colourful pictures, the smooth binding, and the pungent paper smell. Though I lost the book, the contents are etched in my memory forever. Reading comics, short fairy tales was simple and mind-refreshing. As I grew older and started dabbling with novels, essays, research articles, non-fiction, biographies, etc. My appetite for reading grew voraciously.

Reading is useless if you don't understand what you read. In my opinion, It doesn't matter if you forget everything in the book, but you should at least have a vague idea of what the book chronicles upon. The most important part of reading is the application of knowledge. Until the knowledge is applied practically to various instances in life, it will lie idle in your memory bank and eventually fade away with time.

My way of reading a book consists of a minimum of two readings or four readings at maximum. If the book is quite simple and easy to assimilate then no more than two readings are required. But, if the book is quite complex and of utmost importance to the reader, multiple readings can be preferred. The most important part is to link the bookish stuff with real-life incidents or personal encounters. That way new neural pathways are established, new connections are built in the brain. Thus enabling one to apply the knowledge in real-life situations.




The first reading is a simple, medium-paced reading that doesn't require much effort. The aim here is to familiarize me with the vocabulary, the various terminologies, and the chapter structuring in the book. I don't use any highlighter or pencil for the first reading.


The second reading is quite focussed and slow-paced. But hey, here's the catch, it doesn't require much effort as you have been familiar with the book once. In this phase, one may use a pencil to mark important points, statements, quotes, etc. I prefer the use of a pencil moreover than a highlighter, I like to keep it simple.


The third reading is simple and fast-paced. In this reading, I usually just glimpse over what I have pencil marked and underline the important markings with a pen. I prefer a black pen so that the highlighted text stands out boldly.


The fourth or the final reading is when you read the whole book from the start to the end for the last time. I don't usually mark or highlight anything during this phase. I just read and enjoy the book assuming it is the last time I am reading it.

Keywords: Reading, Books, Bibliophile.


Photo by Flickr.

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