How to Make a Non-Fiction Book Come to Life

The majority of the books I read are non-fiction. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good story. It’s just that I feel I still have so much to learn. I enjoy new ways of thinking, new paths to creativity, and new perspectives regarding old ideas.

One of the things I recognize about myself is my difficulty retaining what I read. So as I read I underline, make notes, and fold over pages. I often use Evernote to take notes, preserve them, categorize them, and go back to them at a later date. Even after doing all these things, I still have a difficult time holding on to the things I read.

When I recently started reading Making Ideas Happen, by Scott Belsky, I recommended the book to a friend, who also happens to be our church president. He seemed very interested in it, so I suggested that we read through it together and talk about it. He held me to it. He set a date and said, “Let’s get together then and talk about what we’ve read so far.”

We put together our own little book club.

My friend and I discussed the book.  We asked each other questions. We pointed out important passages. We discussed ways that what we read could be translated into our own work and even our church’s governance.

Today I am remembering much more of what I read. I have an action plan to translate into my daily activities what I have learned. I know how I’m going to use this newfound information. My friend and I are going to hold each other accountable to put into practice Scott Belsky’s excellent advice. The things I read, because I have discussed them with a friend, have been brought to life.

Making Scott Belsky’s Action Steps, References, and Backburner Items (see the first part of Making Ideas Happen for more information) come to life has been a blast. Sharing it with someone else has made all the difference. Non-fiction can have skin and bones after all.

How do you make a non-fiction book come to life and remember the major points?

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