How to Read Non-Fiction Books Better and Faster

How to Read Non-Fiction Books

While few will realize this, fiction and non-fiction books need to be read quite differently in order to achieve the best results. While fiction books can be read in a more relaxed fashion and require less effort on your part, having mainly an entertainment purpose, non-fiction are quite different. 

Knowing how to read non-fiction books can have a huge impact on how you process information and how quickly you learn new skills or improve yourself in other aspects of your personality.

What are the most popular non-fiction types of books?

The first step in learning how to read a non-fiction book is to know what exactly we are looking at. It’s always important to have a clear idea about the book types we are supposed to apply a different strategy to when we read them in order to get the best results and experience. 

These are the most popular non-fiction book types:

  • Memoirs
  • Cooking
  • Self-Help
  • Historical
  • Spiritual
  • Educational

As you can see, they are quite varied and can cover a lot of ground in terms of your general knowledge. In order to not miss out on all the information we can learn from them, it’s important to learn how to read non-fiction faster, more efficiently and how to ensure that we retain as much information from these books as possible.

Is reading non-fiction really that different from reading fiction books?

Well, to put it shortly, yes. Reading non fiction requires a completely different approach from the reader in order to achieve the desired purpose. Reading fiction is usually an entertaining, relaxing pass-time activity, meant to transport us in a different dimension and tell us a story.

Reading non-fiction on the other hand has a clear purpose of teaching us something. Whether it’s historical facts about a certain event, ways to improve ourselves or overcome our fears or an age-old traditional recipe, reading non-fiction has a different effect on us than reading fiction.

Therefore, it needs to be approached with a different mindset and a different set of tools and strategies in order to be as efficient as possible.

How to read non-fiction books effectively?

In order to remember more and to generally learn how to read non-fiction faster, we need to be prepared. Luckily for you, we have all the best tips and tricks and we are willing to share them all!

Annotate. Take notes. Highlight 

The main difference between reading fiction and non-fiction is the fact that the latter requires you to memorize more from the content you consume than the former. You can easily go through a fiction book without paying that much attention to small details and trying to rely mainly on the general ideas.

Non-fiction doesn’t really work like that. You will need to pay more attention to the information that is presented to you and in order to retain more from what you read, you will need to annotate, take notes and highlight certain parts of the text. That’s going to come in handy especially if you want to also move backwards while reading to double check information or to use information from earlier stages of the book to enforce details you get later.  

Writing while reading in general, has a complex effect on how our brain processes the information. Since it passes through while we read it and then also gets processed through the written “output”, the mental process is a lot more complex and the neuronal connections formed are going to be stronger, forming in other terms stronger and longer lasting memories. 

Use Basmo

If taking notes, annotating and highlighting with pen and paper seems outdated and ineffective, you are absolutely right. There’s no need to have your notes written on scattered pieces of paper you will inevitably lose or to mess up your books with annotations.

That’s why Basmo, the complete reading tracking solution for the modern reader, comes with a series of features meant to take your non-fiction reading straight to the next level. Use the notes feature to write down your thoughts or important information right on your phone, while you read. 

Basmo App
The Basmo App

On top of this, you can use the book scanner feature to use your phone’s camera to either take pictures of the important parts of the texts you’re studying and highlight the parts you know you have to remember or use later in your learning process, or even to extract the text and save it as additional notes. 

Know your motivation and use it as a boost

Another thing that differentiates fiction and non-fiction reading is the motivation behind the action. While recreational readers will often choose fiction for entertainment, relaxation, or health benefits, non-fiction readers have a deeper purpose behind their choice.

Find that reasoning, know your motivation and use it to your advantage. You’re reading a memoir because you’re interested in learning more about the author, you’re reading a self-help book because you’re trying to find ways to heal or improve something on yourself, you’re reading a historical book because you want to learn about a certain event.

Use this motivation as a boost to get you through the tougher parts of the book and let it guide you closer to your ultimate goal. Whether it’s a mandatory read or a self-imposed one, the reasons behind your actions represent a powerful motivator. Use them and achieve your goals.

Since we’re on the subject of goals, allow me to present to you another interesting feature Basmo has to offer. For those of you who want to achieve great things through the reading you do, Basmo has two different goal-setting options.

Whether you want to set yourself a goal for the time you spend reading every day or one for the number of books you read throughout a year, you will be able to set that in just a couple of taps in the Basmo app.

Not only that, but you will also be able to track your progress through interesting statistics and visuals designed to keep you on track.

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Stay focused

Staying focused is a challenge, we know. But it is an essential part of reading non-fiction if you want to achieve as much as you possibly can for your efforts. Being focused can mean several things though: it can be both staying true to your main purpose and applying professionalism and dedication to your goals in the long run, and remaining concentrated in short bursts during your reading sessions.

Luckily, Basmo can help with both. If you’re having trouble staying focused during your daily reading sessions, apart from removing distractions and making sure you are always relaxed and well rested when you read, there’s another thing that can help tremendously – setting short and intensive reading sessions with Basmo.

Basmo times your reading sessions and you can also use the app to create a reading schedule that meets your needs. That means you can, for example, schedule several 20-minutes sessions during the day at any time that works for you. Basmo will even remind you of all upcoming reading sessions through gentle notifications.

Statistics and weekly progress tracking are other features from the Basmo that can be of great help for keeping you focused in the long run. You will always have access to interesting insights in your reading habits, how much and how quickly you read, how close you are to achieving your goals.

Review and Reflect on what you read

Learning is a complex activity and requires a certain amount of hindsight in a sense. You constantly need to go back and re-read certain pieces of information, you need to reflect on what you read.

Basmo’s journal feature comes in handy in these moments. You can use the app to keep a reading journal and write down the important information as you read it. This way you can write your own summaries, review them later and keep going back to them easily whenever you need to.

Final thoughts

Knowing how to read non-fiction books comes in handy in very many situations. Whether it’s school mandatory reads or things you simply want to learn, non-fiction will be a great source of information as long as you manage to process what you read in an effective fashion.
Luckily, with tools like Basmo, things have never been easier than they are today. Take full advantage of all the features Basmo has to offer and reading non-fiction will be a piece of cake!

Give Your Reading Experience
An Extra Boost With Basmo

Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time. 

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

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