One of the classics recommended for people who want to succeed in business is How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Its time-tested advice has helped countless people with different vocations, occupations, and personal lives too.
As a former homeschool mom and now homeschool mentor, I recommend this book to high school homeschoolers to read. Why? Because learning how to deal with people, win people to your way of thinking, and lead people is fundamental in everything we do. No matter what your teen does or where they will be, they will be among people. Carnegie realized that instead of more public speaking training, people needed “still more training in the fine art of getting along with others in everyday business and social contacts.” (Your teens may want to read the 2012 edition: How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age.)
Today, many can still benefit from this book’s truths. If more people read and followed its principles, we may have a more harmonious discourse than the divide we are experiencing in our country.
There are innumerable leadership lessons in Carnegie’s book. However, I found a gem in the book that provides some essential principles for any book you will read.
The “Nine Suggestions on How to Get More Out of This Book” are steps provided by Carnegie in the book’s introduction. While they are for the reader’s benefit while reading How to Win Friends, it can be a checklist for other nonfiction books. These nine tips to help you learn more from future books you read.
9 Tips for Learning More from Any Book You Read
(1) Have the desire to learn something from what you are about to read. Do not just read to read but instead decide from the beginning that you intend to learn as you read.
(2) Make a practice of reading each chapter twice. The first time gives you an overall view, and there is a tendency to read at a faster pace. The second time will undoubtedly highlight something missed before. We know this from reading textbooks, don’t we? Rereading chapters is how we will begin to have mastery over the material.
(3) Stop frequently and think about what is being read. Remember that you are not reading to read. Instead, ask yourself: “How can I use or apply what I just read?”
(4) Keep a highlighter or pencil nearby at all times. When you come across something you know you can use or will need to know later, highlight, underscore it, or make notes in the margins. (This practice is just as easy in Kindle, and you can still add notes,)
(5) Take time to go back often and review your notes in the book. To get a real, lasting benefit from a book, skimming through it once won’t work. Re-evaluating a book’s principles will help make them a habit.
(6) Put something you have read into practice right away. Learning is an active process, and we learn by doing. If you want to master the material, find a way to put something into practice every day.
(7) Create accountability as you put your new knowledge to use. Having a reading partner can be helpful. You can discuss new ideas and encourage each other as you put into practice what you’ve learned.
(8) Review your progress weekly. A journal can be used to chart progress and discover where improvements need to be made.
(9) Keep a record of successes! Keeping a record will inspire you to greater efforts. Nothing is more inspiring than to look back to see how far you have come!
Which one of these 9 suggestions will you implement the next time you are reading to learn?
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This article was originally posted on my blog, Muses of a Mom, in March of 2021, and has been posted here with updates.