Saturday, May 16, 2009

How I Review a Book

A few times recently I have shared a book review with my 'dogear' rating system. I thought I would take a little time to talk about how I read a book.

First, my primary purpose for reading is Continuous Improvement so I tend to focus on books found in the Leadership or Management section at Barnes & Noble. Here are the steps I use:

1) I like to mark up a book, so I always have a pen handy when reading a book. I use the jacket cover as my bookmark during the reading process as well. Whenever I come across something of interest while reading, I highlilght the section and 'dogear' the page:

Upon completion of the book, I am able to visually see the impact of the book by turning it sideways:

2) I go back and review those pages I dogeared prior to writing the review. I remove the jacket cover and discard and the cover. I place the book on a shelf for future review and I like the look of the hardback cover versus the paper cover.

3) I write the review and post it on the blog. This(writing a review and posting on the blog) is new for me since I have only been blogging for about a year now.

4) I ask for feedback and will send the book to the first reviewer of the blog.

5) Frequently, I buy an extra copy to share with a friend who I think might benefit from the topic.

I know that this review has 'gaps'. For instance, there are several topics of leadership that the book may cover that I may not be able to get back to easily. John Maxwell talks of his notes in the front of the book and then he has his assistant make a copy and file under that topic. Just a few years back, my then assistant, Mary Cunningham, started an electronic file from this review process, but I found it to be time-consuming for her and I was not reviewing it regularly. With the number of books that Maxwell writes and speaking engagements he does, I can see the value in his process for sure!

Many of you may have heard of the Kindle and there are several reasons I have not yet purchased one:

1) Price prohibitive (Current Amazon price is $359) - the payback on a kindle with my reading habits (about 6 books per year) would be about 6 years. Technology changes too fast! Although, my reading would likely increase...

2) It is still new technology - I am quite sure that there will be better technology coming to the market soon that has more value.

3) Process I outline above - I can't visually see where to go back to the pages, although I am SURE that the Kindle would allow me to bookmark by topic and save so that I can refer back by topic. In essence, it combines my dogear with Maxwell's index card system. Given all that, I do believe I will eventually move toward the e-reader technology and would probably try out the Kindle now with a price point less than $100.

How do you review a book and go back to find the important points? Have you considered the Kindle?

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