How to Master a Topic of Interest
This is a continuation to last week’s post How to Summarize a Book for Professional Development. How to master a topic of interest builds on how to read. In How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren, the authors talk about the three reasons for reading and the four levels of reading.
Three Reasons for Reading
- To further knowledge
Four Levels of Reading
To master a topic of interest requires reading to further knowledge and reading syntopically, which is reading several books at the same time about a specific topic, and looking at them in relationship to each other. To demonstrate, let’s pose a scenario.
You are a woman who hasn’t received a salary increase in seven years beyond the yearly cost of living increase. You are known as someone who always gets the job done, but your salary does not reflect your experience and education. You know that others with your experience at other companies earn at least $30k more per year than you do. To top it off, you are introverted and do not know how to negotiate.
There are many solutions to your dilemma, and an obvious one is to get a coach or mentor. But let’s not choose either of those, how about if we decide to first learn how to negotiate by reading a few books on the topic of negotiating. You believe that by learning to negotiate, it will help you not only to get a salary increase, but will also help in other areas of work and life.
Let’s say a colleague at another company referred the following books for you to read.
- Her Place at the Table: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success
- Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and Gender Divide
- Ask for It: How Woman Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want
- Negotiating With Giants
Before you dive into the books and start to read, you need a plan. What information do you need to learn? Start to brainstorm, and look at the Table of Contents to get ideas. You would probably be interested in:
- How to overcome objections
- Why women are hesitant to ask for salary increases
- Where to gather information on salary ranges in your industry
- How to build a business case for why you should be given a salary increase
- How to present your case to your boss or the person responsible for signing off the salary increase
- Decide on the least amount you will accept for an increase
- How to respond if you are not taken seriously
I am sure that you could add a lot more to the list, but this is for demonstration purposes only. Start reading the books with the specific goal of extracting the information that you need. And because this is such a critical situation, theory shouldn’t be enough. You could find a trusted advisor or friend to practice your pitch, ask for honest feedback and make adjustments along the way.
So if you want to read to master a topic of interest, you must have a learning goal. You have to know what you want to accomplish, what ways you will gather the most appropriate books to read. You can ask colleagues, friends and family for recommendations.
See the post How to Master a Subject for another way, a more in-depth one to approach this issue.
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Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people.
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