Years ago, I read an enlightening book titled "How to Read a Book" that fundamentally transformed my approach to reading. This book not only introduced me to a new mindset of reading but also elevated my learning abilities to new heights. It has proven invaluable for years and continues to benefit me to this day.


Over the years, I continued to hone my reading skills by exploring books on effective reading. I purposefully refrain from using the term "faster" here, because speed is not the most critical factor in reading a book. The ultimate goal is to acquire the skills or derive the emotions from the book, whether it's a practical guide or a work of fiction.


With the advent of advanced AI tools this year, I have begun to adapt my reading workflow to incorporate AI. This has proven especially effective and comfortable when reading practical books. (If anyone has developed a method for reading emotionally-driven books like novels with AI, I would be very interested to hear about it.)


Below is a simplified version of my AI-assisted book reading process. Due to space constraints, this is just a skeleton of my workflow, but I believe it will serve as a practical starting point for your initial attempts. The method draws from techniques found in "How to Read a Book" as well as other sources that I'll reference when I recall their titles.


Here's the method:

1. Topic Familiarization: Start by getting acquainted with the book's topic and structure. This involves reading the book's summary, author profile, index, table of contents, introduction, and any other preliminary information. This gives you a quick overview of the content you're about to dive into. Using AI tools like ChatGPT, you can instruct it to summarize the book's structure, topics, and the author's background. You can also inquire about the book's significance within its field of study. At this stage, the primary goal is to understand the topic, background, and structure of the book.

2. Keyword Scanning: Next, perform a preliminary scan of the book from the first to the last page, focusing solely on the words. You don't need to understand their meanings or prioritize the "most important" ones (you likely wouldn't know which ones are most important at this stage anyway). Just scan. This will help you become more familiar with the text. Utilizing AI tools like ChatGPT, you can ask for a list of the 100 most important words in the book, along with explanations for each. Even a rough understanding of these words is sufficient at this stage.

3. Random Paragraph Reading**: This step further builds familiarity. Without AI, you might randomly select paragraphs or choose ones that seem most important from your perspective. The objective is to gain a deeper insight into the book's content. With AI assistance, you can follow a "pick up and ask" approach. Let the AI tool select some paragraphs for you, such as the most critical ones or those that caught your attention in the previous steps. Then, ask any questions you have until you grasp the paragraph's essence.

4. Decision Time: By now, you should be well-equipped to decide whether to read the entire book or focus on specific chapters. Not every book warrants a word-for-word, in-depth reading. If time permits and you are captivated by the book, feel free to read it in its entirety. However, in most cases, we read books to gain new skills or insights. Often, only specific sections of a book merit close attention. After the preceding steps, you should be able to discern which parts of the book warrant thorough reading. As you embark on this immersive journey, remember that your AI companion remains at your disposal for any questions you might have.


Additional tips:

1. Reverse-Ask Method: To reinforce your learning, articulate your insights to the AI and ask it to validate your understanding.

2. Book Recommendations: Request AI to recommend books related to the current one, enabling you to explore the topic further and more quickly.


AI has transformed the way I approach reading, and I hope this method helps you in your reading journey as well. Let's embrace the power of AI to enhance our learning experiences!

"How to Read a Book" - An AI-Powered Approach