How to Read a Book, v5.0 by Paul N. Edwards
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这篇短文，在我看来比那本流传已久的同名的书好多了。（点击文末左下角“阅读原文”打开 PDF 文件……）
作者是密西根大学的 Paul N. Edwards，以创作共用授权条款（Creative Commons）发布。谁愿意翻译的话，译好之后发给我，我可以帮忙发布。
How can you learn the most from a book — or any other piece of writing — when you’re reading for information, rather than for pleasure?
It’s satisfying to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end. Some books, such as novels, have to be read this way, since a basic principle of fiction is to hold the reader in suspense. Your whole purpose in reading fiction is to follow the writer’s lead, allowing him or her to spin a story bit by bit.
But many of the books, articles, and other documents you’ll read during your undergraduate and graduate years, and possibly during the rest of your professional life, won’t be novels.
Instead, they’ll be non-fiction: textbooks, manuals, journal articles, histories, academic studies, and so on.
The purpose of reading things like this is to gain, and retain, information. Here, finding out what happens — as quickly and easily as possible — is your main goal. So unless you’re stuck in prison with nothing else to do, NEVER read a non-fiction book or article from beginning to end.
Instead, when you’re reading for information, you should ALWAYS jump ahead, skip around, and use every available strategy to discover, then to understand, and finally to remember what the writer has to say. This is how you’ll get the most out of a book in the smallest amount of time.
Using the methods described here, you should be able to read a 300-page book in six to eight hours. Of course, the more time you spend, the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll understand the book. But your time is limited.
Here are some strategies to help you do this effectively. Most of these can be applied not only to books, but also to any other kind of non-fiction reading, from articles to websites. Table 1, on the next page, summarizes the techniques, and the following pages explain them in more detail.