Working a Book

5 levels of reading:

This information came from a class with Jim Kwik around 2018.

Before reading:

Super Brain yoga, breath work, brain breaks. Hydration.
There is a brain workout where you massage your left earlobe with your right hand, then switch. Then do that while squatting. Breathing in on the way down, out on the way back up. It does something to the neural patterns in the brain by getting connections fired up that go across the corpus callosum.

4 stages of mapping technical books

Make sure to always skim technical info before you read it. The information could be very heavy/deep so by skimming first you create a foundation for the brain to accept this complex info once you actually go through it at regular pace.

This information came from a webinar by Nick Milo, presented 1APR'23 to the Linking Your Thinking community.

Books I'm using in this webinar:

Meta Goal:
To influence the reader in the moment and in the future.

Allowed to:

Books are not FOR READING, they are FOR THINKING.

3 Decrees for reading:

Part 2 - working that book

first get the gist. there is a front cover. what's on it?
title? subtitle? "super" title??
Mine is "The DevOps Handbook" - sub: How to create world-class agility, reliability, & security in technology organizations
what is on the back? blurbs from other authors? a synopsis about the book? info about the author and where they live?
what's on the back flap? this one has info about the authors.
front flap? mine has a book summary that is inspiring.

then explore the story behind the book. for DevOps Handbook I see:
second edition was written 5 years after first, in 2021. made in portland oregon. check the structure to the book using the TOC. how many parts? how many chapters? do any of them stand out as more relevant or interesting? any themes or patterns already? throughlines, narrative arcs?
ok for DevOps HB I am seeing: lots of case studies and many parts, six parts! 23 chapters.
what's at the end of the book? notes, bibliography, index, appendices, acknowledgements, afterward, coda, call-to-action...anything the author thought was important enough to not leave out.

now build rapid context with the index like LiDAR for a book! so go through the index and put a dot next to the things that stand out. do you recognize some terms? how about totally unknown words? words that you did not expect in this book?
Mine: "information radiators" - "coaching kata" - "organizational culture"(many references for this last one!)
If you ever get stuck then pop back to the index and find something that sparks.

now make notes that actually matter! have some emergent quetions for the book.

what is the book about? ...what is it really about?

title: DevOps Handbook
it's about software delivery performance. but it's really about organizational culture and how powerful it is in changing the performance level of teams that use technology.
title: Accelerate
it's about the research used in the DevOps reports. but it's really about having data-driven proof that DevOps does work and how to leverage this data for implementing changes at your organization.

as I experience this book, what questions should I be asking?

title: DevOps Handbook
if this improvement methodology is so data-proven and so effective when implemented properly, then why do so many organizations still use other, outdated, ineffective methods instead?

why do I care about this book?

title: Acccelerate
because I want to be the person that transforms my organization into a high-performing team of people who enjoy their work and create new innovative approaches to whatever problems arrise.


articulate insights: transform sparks I read into remarks I remember?
what stories, insights, or arguments - sparked by this book - can I actually articulate?
"there is a proven way to transform teams. there is a type of culture which can be nurtured that gives people tools to deliver solutions in a better way. better for everyone. better quality of life and also more resilient teams."

plant compelling concepts: can I effectively build my knowlege?
what ideas - sparked by this book - should I plant to keep handy?
"organizational culture. why it matters the most, and how to nurture the right one."

apply actionable ideas: can I actually apply what I'm reading?
what actionable takeaways - sparked by this book - should I attempt to apply?
"focusing on the change that matters most. constraint theory applied to culture first, then to work center bottlenecks."

key terms

put terms, concepts, and phrases here.

page notes

put the page number and a note about what stands out to you.

Learning is non-linear

Books are for thinking, not just reading

it only matters what the book caused you to think.
think of it as a conversation with the author.

Context is king

build context big and fast so your reading is more enjoyable and your understanding is more robust.
intuit patterns.
make insights.