[startup experience #2] Four steps to become an effective reader

iReadAction MVP design.

Together with my co-founders, we have been working on an app to help readers build good reading habits in order to reap the benefits from the our readings. And this article covers the core function our app will be shipping in the future.

The main purpose this app idea is brought up is to solve my own reading problems. I have very bad reading habits. In here, I only talk about non-fiction books. I love reading books, and I have read a lot in the past several years (show my book shelf). But the thing is I don’t quite remember what I read, not even the key messages from the book. I literally never applied what I read into my life and work. Very possibly, many people have the similar experience: we read a book, have some “aha” moments and then, after finishing the book, forget everything we just learned. And many times, we don’t revisit the key insights from the book.


Pick the right book at the right time for you. There are tons of recommendations on Amazon, goodReads, etc.. But we should pick up the right book to solve our own problem/pain at the this moment.

I used to buy tons of books which are on the recommendation list, but it ended up that I didn’t finish 10% of them. And most of books are good by themselves, but not helpful for me at that moment, or not insightful for me at least.


“If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, that’s when your life changes.” — Tony Robbins

Writing is an effective way to sharpen our thinking. Popular YouTuber Ali talks about how he writes Book Notes to help him understand and remember what he read in his video — “How I remember everything I read.”


“Knowledge trapped in books neatly stacked is meaningless and powerless until applied for betterment of life.” — Ratna Kusnur

“Knowledge isn’t power until it’s applied.” — Dale Carnegie

“It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know.” — Tony Robbins


Besides understanding and applying what we read, there is another important element — measurement. Yes, we all know the motivation power of progress. It happens in various areas. For a person who wants to lose weight, it would be very helpful to see the change every week or every month. Ideally, if we could see daily progress, I believe no one would give up training so fast. Speaking of the effective measurements,

The motivating power of progress can effectively fuel our energy to keep applying the knowledge to improve our life. However, many reading apps in the market only track how many pages we read or how many hours we spend per day. These indicators doesn’t indicate the real benefits we get from reading. We need to understand why we spend our honorable time in reading a book but not benefit from it. We need better indicators to measure our progress.



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