How Tanmay Vora gets the most from a nonfiction book

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How Tanmay Vora gets the most from the business books he reads.

I consider the time spent reading a non-fiction book as the most important investment of my scarcest resource – time. So, I am very clinical about books I pick up and decide to read.

My first strategy to decide if I should invest or not is to scan through the table of contents and skim through the pages. I like books that talk to me rather than the ones that preach to me too much.

Once I decide to devote time to read a book, I find slots where interruption is least, like early morning or after kids go to bed. I think environment in which you read plays a huge role in how much value you derive from the book.

I am also a big fan of identifying patterns in how the book is written. Patterns allow me to look for right areas in book where maximum value is packed. I have developed an admiration for chapter summaries and takeaways for the brevity and essence they provide.

I extract core messages, concepts and principles from the book via notes and highlights. It is almost like taking a dip in the ocean to find a pearl.

The key messages I extract are still outside of me and I need something more to internalize them. Representing key messages in hand drawn visual notes is my way to learn slowly, deeply and visually. It helps the key messages go deeper into my subconscious because I try to represent messages through a combination of hand-written text and associated visual metaphors. This makes learning and recall easy, not just for me as a creator, but also to people who consume my sketchnotes and visual book summaries on social media.

If these notes catch the fancy of publishers and authors, they end up using these summaries for their book events, which is only a happy by-product of this pursuit of learning deeply and slowly.

It helps me. It helps others. It is win-win.

That’s how Tanmay Vora does it. Now it’s your turn. How do you get the most from the books you read?

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