Books have always had a lot to say to me

For my entire life, books have always had a lot to say to me. They move me, rock me to the core, shift and change the direction of my decisions and they always seem to provide just the guidance at just the time when I need it. 

Until my recent online course, I See You: A Guided Journey Through Amy’s First Book, I haven’t ever tried to teach people how to read like I do.  I thought everyone knew these secrets to absorbing the most from books, but I’ve learned that they don’t!  (Eh-hem, perhaps an area of natural genius?!??!  Shout out to Chapter 2 of I See You!)

The feedback I’ve received from students has been overwhelmingly positive on this part of the course.  More people have told me they actually finished the entire book and they’ve never done that before, or that the book really spoke to them in new ways because they used these simple tips.  If you’re curious and want to know more, you can still purchase and work through all four sessions of the course here

6 Tips for Getting the Most from Non-Fiction Books

1.        Write all over your book.

This is not elementary school where you have to turn your books in at the end of the year. You OWN the book, so take full advantage. Highlight, underline, write in the margins. If something makes you smile, add a smiley face. If something makes you mad, write “I disagree!” in the margin! Interact with your books actively and enthusiastically!

2.        Mark your favorite pages.

You can use the special I See You bookmarks we have created or just fold the corner of the page over when there is a concept or part that you might want to return to later. This makes finding favorite passages easier.

3.        Read, listen, or do both!

Someone just sheepishly said, “I listened to your whole book on Audible. Does that count? I learn so much more when I listen!” Of course it counts! Read, listen or as many people have told me, they like to follow along in the printed book as I read it aloud to them on Audible. It doesn’t matter. If you are an auditory learner or if your best time to consume books is while walking or in a car, don’t apologize for consuming books via Audible! Thank goodness we have that resource now! 

4.        Read only ten pages a day.

For most people, bite size chunks are better than huge swallows. In his best-selling book Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod encourages his readers to read just 10 pages a day from prescriptive non-fiction books like I See You

My book is 240 pages long, so if you read just 10 pages a day, you’ll finish it in 3 weeks. It’s astonishing how many books I get through in a year only reading 10 pages a day.    

A client who was a part of one of my first Encounter coaching groups recently posted this picture of all the books she has read in the last 4 years and these words on her Facebook wall:

“Remember when I used to label myself as a non-reader? Well, guess what? I’ve been on this incredible journey since 2019, diving into books and expanding my mind one page at a time. And you know what’s crazy? It all started with just 10 pages a day.

I used to think I didn’t have time to read, but then I realized, what’s 10 pages in the grand scheme of things? It’s a tiny commitment with monumental rewards. Now, I’m not just a reader, I’m a voracious learner, constantly hungry for new ideas and perspectives.”

Also, I’ve had many people tell me they started reading I See You and couldn’t stop so read all the way through—which I take as the greatest compliment by the way—but I do think that we only have capacity to make so many changes on a daily basis. I prefer small and incremental changes made over the long run over a huge change over a short period of time! So if you plowed through her, can I also invite you to go back and take a more leisurely stroll?   

5.        Absorb what you need and let go of the rest.

Don’t get so clingy or feel all of this pressure that you have to implement everything you read or that you have to absorb every concept in every book you read. Hold the message of books loosely and when something resonates, go more slowly and absorb it but if it isn’t, just let it slide on by. Every day doesn’t need to bring a life-changing epiphany. Again, I prefer slower, sustainable, more incremental change.

6.        Create a reading space.

Find or create a reading space that feels welcoming and that is convenient, with minimal distractions. In every house we’ve lived in, I’ve had a space where I do a morning routine. I keep all of my materials there—books, journal, pens, paper where I jot down inspired ideas or things I need to do that day that come to me. If I had to gather all of this and decide to read every day, there’s no way I would. I have a basket, and everything is in there. I wake up and walk in and sit down. That’s the only choice I make.    

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