I am a reasonably fast reader. I often find myself switching into ‘skimming’ mode if a book becomes a bit cumbersome. And many books do (Tom Clancy, are you listening?), with fictional books taking a paragraph to expand on the most mundane ….

He entered tentatively, the tears drying upon his cheek, the sound of the door slamming in the background as Esmeralda stormed off into the frosty night, and like the sun rising, the room opened before him as if he had just crested a hill and entered the valley of new beginnings, a yellow tapestry covering the back wall with a hint of deep velvety mauve around the edges that gave a rich, medieval Scotland impression, not unlike the crest that adorned Esmeralda’s family castle in North Wales, while to his left, the chrome faucet, that Esmeralda had just bought online during a Restoration Hardware Thanksgiving weekend sale, shimmered as the all natural yellow bees wax candle from a small shop in New Hampshire, where Esmeralda completed her Masters in Neuroscience and Insect Microbiology, threw light that danced and illuminated, giving a sense of inner peace to all who entered the sanctum and sought a moments respite or time with the trove of knowledge that was encased in the large earthen pot in the corner; The Economist, Cosmo, People, and a scruffy looking copy of Men’s Health, each yearning to educate George as he contemplated the porcelain before him.

At a dinner last week the conversation turned to a task ahead. One of our group had 2 books to read for a leadership meeting he was attending. A very interesting suggestion was made, learned during MBA days where the reading load was enormous and time precious (I paraphrase):

Read the first and last paragraph of every chapter. Read the first line and the last line of each paragraph in between.

Some would say brilliant, and worth trying, especially when reading certain business books with a simple premise that could be covered in a short article instead of 300 pages.