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How To Actually Read And Absorb A Book (And Why 52 books in 52 weeks Is BS)

52 Books In 52 Weeks

As absurd and common sense as the title of this article sounds the majority of people simply read a book and don’t actually absorb or implement any of the information or knowledge gained with the turn of each page. Here’s how I read, absorb and implement the knowledge, advice and tips I pick up when reading books.

I like to read both paperback and Kindle books, if I’m travelling I try to avoid carrying any thick paperbacks with me and opt for my Kindle (which is currently loaded with 100~ titles that’ll keep me busy for quite some time!). If I’m not on the move I always prefer to pick up a physical paperback when possible, just personal preference (stop debating which is better and just pick up one or the other and start reading!).


The first time reading though a new book I’ll either use the highlight function on my Kindle or a pen/highlighter within my paperback book, highlighting and underlining the ‘golden nuggets’ I find throughout the book – these may be quotes, ideas, factual information… anything I find relevant that I can or should be applying to my life.

A properly read book should be highlighted, underlined and have notes sprawled throughout the side margins of the page. While recently reading ‘You, Inc.’ by Gene Simmons on an overseas flight the woman sitting next to me asked why I was ‘ruining such a new book’. The majority of people read a book and keep it as pristine as possible. We’re not the majority of people – we want to read and absorb the information as best as possible. Highlighting, underlining and note taking throughout the book is the way to go (if you’re doing this to a paperback make sure it’s a book you own, not one borrowed from a friend or library!).

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Note Journal

After reading through the book for the first time I’ll go back through and take more detailed notes based on what I've highlighted into a A4 paper journal.

Summary and or review

Through a combination of my notes journal, highlighted and underlined sections and points within the book and my thoughts reading through the book I’ll type up an 800~ word summary which either gets filed away or published on my blog with an accompanying YouTube video review depending on how many gems I pick up on within the book and how relevant it is to this site. From my experience the vast majority of modern self-help books are rehashes of the greats such as Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Frank Bettger etc.

Action taking goes here

It’s time to take action. I implement any actionable points I picked up on throughout the book – BEFORE I think about moving onto another book. This is where the majority of people fail – they jump from one book to the next assuming the ’52 books in 52 weeks’ is the way to go. Reading a variety of books is great however time spent reading is time that isn’t spent DOING. Reading a book a day without implementing the advice or at least taking notes on what you’ve learnt is a waste of time – unless you’re consciously working with the information you’re reading the amount you’ll retain (from my experience) is quite minimal.

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What’s your process when you read a book? Do you do anything different? Let me know in the comments below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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