Why Do You Read?
In a nutshell, I read for two reasons, one of theoretical understanding, and one eminently practical:
- To make sense of the world around me;
- To find new practical ways to do more, achieve more, get better
Why Do You Publish Summaries?
- To spread knowledge
- To share my reviews on books
- Because I would write them for myself anyway
- For small revenue generation
All the summaries I publish, I would write them for myself anyway. Many of the ones published here where gathering dust bytes on my computer before I even started The Power Moves.
Summaries always felt like something I had to do because the thought of not being able to consolidate and easily access that knowledge was painful for me. But since I was very painstaking in my summarizing process it felt at times like a very time consuming chore on top of an already long day.
Then it dawned on me.
The day I realized I could share them and add value to someone else’s life while also getting a small reward for it (traffic + small revenues) everything changed. Writing summaries started being a source of pleasure and a small added motivation to read even more.
Quality or Quantity?
Understanding the principles of the book is my first goal. Quantity doesn’t enter the picture until the need of fully grasping the meaning of great information has been satisfied.
But I still place speed high up in the list. Basically, I read as quickly as possible without losing anything in quality.
This means that if “as quickly as possible” is very slow or reading the book twice, great, I’ll go slower than usual and read it twice. As a matter of fact, some key passages or more complex books, I often read them more than once.
Summaries of Summaries?
I summarize almost exclusively full length, unabridged resources.
I know some summaries websites use Blinkist for their reading, but the simple idea of it sounds ludicrous to me.
Tree or Forest (silos summaries)?
I don’t do “silo summaries”, and that’s one of the reasons why my summaries are often very personal.
My goal is to understand a topic, not just to summarize a book. That means I will sometimes add notes from other books or other sources if the message is not clear enough or if it goes against what I have previously read or what I have personally experienced.
My comments and other resources are often marked with blue ink.
What Do You Read (and Summarize)
I read books that make me a better person, help me achieve my goals and that help me make sense of the world around me. This means no novels, fictions and philosophy for philosophy’s sake.
It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy them, it’s just a question of priorities.
And you’ll see few biographies because I believe we should focus on our lives.
As you can guess from this website I am particularly interested in sociology, psychology, people, influencing and human interactions.
So you will find lots of summaries in those categories. Even books not strictly in those categories, I will always highlight all the aspects relevant to people and people’s skills.
Do You Summarize All That You Read?
No, our time is too valuable. A book has to have a minimum amount of good insights and applicable information, otherwise it doesn’t make the cut -that’s why you’ll see little 1 and 2 stars here-.
As a matter of fact, I might not finish reading bad books or I’ll simply skim trough them. Each book must justify the time I’m putting into it.
I might at times post a few bad ones though if it helps make a point.
The summaries do follow a basic structure:
3 Sentences Summary
Are the core messages and insights in a few bullet points. With that people know the main message in 30 seconds and can decide whether to dig deeper or not.
The main body of the summary contains all the relevant, important information. It has no given structure or length (read “summaries length” as to why).
Real Life Applications
I felt the need of this section as a staple because many books are very theoretical. Or sometimes some great insight that could be applied to someone’s life is not directly presented as such.
In those cases, I present a few less obvious ideas of how you can put that book to work for you, in your life.
Cons, of course, concerns what I didn’t like about the book or some questions it left unanswered or some parts I was dubious about. On this regard also notice the:
I’m don’t do journalistic style writing where you present a topic without any opinion or comment. The summaries serve me to make sense of the world. So I write in blue my own comment or refer to other resources that disagree with the author or that can better explain the topic.
My personal feelings about the book.
Also note that since this is a website on social interactions and people skills, I highlight anything which is related to people.
Some summaries are very short, some are very long.
It all depends on how long it takes to convey the key ideas and possible life canging content of the book.
A fixed length would be nice marketing-wise, but content and insights are my driving force.
As a matter of fact, I think that websites that stick to a certain number of insights or bullet points are ridiculous. Some books won’t even have 3 key insights. And some will have 30. My summaries stop when I can provide a condensed idea of all that mattered.
Do You Recommend Sticking To Summaries?
All the summaries on ThePowerMoves.com are never intended as substitutes of the full book and they are exclusively based on my opinion and what’s important for me. It might not be the same that’s important and relevant for you.
On the other hand they’re super helpful if you:
- Want to check a book before buying
- Wan a refresher of a book you’ve already read
- Want to “prepare your mind” for knowledge absorption before reading the book
That summaries are not a substitute is not just a legal disclaimer but also for yourself. We humans learn and remember the most with examples and stories. And summaries tend to be stripped out of examples and stories.
It means that, ironically, you might use summaries to save time but you can end up instead wasting time because that information might not get stored in your brain.
That being said, if the alternatives are between a summary or nothing, than a summary is much better than nothing :).