Book Summary Template: How to Get The Most From a Book

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To get the most from a book, I often use a Book Summary Template which I created after conducting research. I do not always answer all the questions in the template for every book that I read, because some may not be relevant for that book. Before reading, decide why you are reading, is it for information, to further knowledge or for entertainment? If I am reading for entertainment, I never use the template.

After using the template for a while, it becomes second nature. The template below is taken from the Invisible Mentor Toolkit which I developed to assist you in acquiring information and knowledge from a distance. In the past few weeks, I have been reminded how important invisible mentors are. The interesting thing is that people are talking about invisible mentors but they are not calling them that because the term is not well known. In the blog post Are You Being Mentored by Cat Matson, can you spot where she talks about invisible mentors?

Book Summary Template

  1. What is the book about?
  2. What is being said in detail and how?
  3. Is the author qualified to talk about this topic?
  4. What problems is the author trying to solve?
  5. Which of the problems that the author had to solve did he/she succeed in solving?
  6. What are the author’s solutions?
  7. How does the author’s ideas or solutions relate to your life and work?
  8. Did you come across any different ways to solve every day problems?
  9. What breakthroughs did you have while reading this book?
  10. Does the document contain facts that are somewhat surprising because they are different from what you know?
  11. Are there any rule breaking in the book? If yes, what are they?
  12. What are the additional insights?
  13. Is there a method of thinking, or metaphor implied in this book that I can adopt to solve problems?
  14. What are the top 5 great ideas/takeaways from the book?
  15. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book?
  16. Does the book leave unanswered questions? If yes, what are they?
  17. In what ways can you use the ideas/insights/takeaways to increase the value of your products/services to my customers (internal/external)?
  18. In what ways can you use the ideas/insights/takeaways to add value to your life?

Let me know what you think about the questions. In another post, I will give you a template that you can use when you are mastering a topic. It is my vow to assist you on your professional development journey. If there are additional ways that I may be of service please let me know.

Please add your thoughts in the comments box below.

Photo Credit: via Apture

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