How many times do you have to read a book?

Serious question. If you are reading a book on a new subject that you are not familiar with how many times do you have to read it before you know and understand the content?

Depends on the subject, doesn't it? If it's history analysis - once, if it's mechanical instruction - I need it in front of me when I do it, if it's quantum mechanics - four times in order to feel OK about giving up. 

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ziggystardust -

Depends on the subject, doesn't it? If it's history analysis - once, if it's mechanical instruction - I need it in front of me when I do it, if it's quantum mechanics - four times in order to feel OK about giving up. 

Good point. I guess it would depend on the author too. How well he did in explaining the topic, etc..

Books can be very specialized and dense in pure content. I assume you mean like a standard novel though, in which case usually once, I reread pages often though as my mind wanders or if I zone out a bit

CobraKaiRep -

Books can be very specialized and dense in pure content. I assume you mean like a standard novel though, in which case usually once, I reread pages often though as my mind wanders or if I zone out a bit

I was thinking more along the lines of textbooks. I guess another factor would be the previous level of understanding of a subject from the reader vs the skill level of who the book was written for.

Calhoon -
ziggystardust -

Depends on the subject, doesn't it? If it's history analysis - once, if it's mechanical instruction - I need it in front of me when I do it, if it's quantum mechanics - four times in order to feel OK about giving up. 

Good point. I guess it would depend on the author too. How well he did in explaining the topic, etc..

I tried reading The Empire once, by Hardt and Negri. It was so filled with academic terms it felt like the authors were more interested intellectual masturbation than communicating a message to the reader. I finally quit in disgust and had to take a shower afterwards. 

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ziggystardust -
Calhoon -
ziggystardust -

Depends on the subject, doesn't it? If it's history analysis - once, if it's mechanical instruction - I need it in front of me when I do it, if it's quantum mechanics - four times in order to feel OK about giving up. 

Good point. I guess it would depend on the author too. How well he did in explaining the topic, etc..

I tried reading The Empire once, by Hardt and Negri. It was so filled with academic terms it felt like the authors were more interested intellectual masturbation than communicating a message to the reader. I finally quit in disgust and had to take a shower afterwards. 

I know what you mean, I hate books like that. I would much rather be impressed with the authors ideas than with how intelligent they sound when expressing them. I hate it when they try too hard to sound intelligent, so hard that it is unreadable.

.

It depends how interesting it is. 

If it's a killer topic im facinated with, I typically note it somehow with a label to go back and reread sections.  Rarely do I find an entire book worth reading twice all the way through. 

depends on how dry or how interesting i personally find the material. i had to read the comptia manuals over and over again even though i'd been doing the work they were codifying for years at that point.

i can read some pretty obscure (and usually poorly translated) philosophy texts and get most of it on the first run through because i got indoctrinated into a liberal cesspool of disingenuous mental contortion in order to subvert my true mind into some post-man sjw automaton... i mean, i took a bunch of philosophy in college and i like the game of figuring out what philosophers are arguing.

Peixes -

depends on how dry or how interesting i personally find the material. i had to read the comptia manuals over and over again even though i'd been doing the work they were codifying for years at that point.

i can read some pretty obscure (and usually poorly translated) philosophy texts and get most of it on the first run through because i got indoctrinated into a liberal cesspool of disingenuous mental contortion in order to subvert my true mind into some post-man sjw automaton... i mean, i took a bunch of philosophy in college and i like the game of figuring out what philosophers are arguing.

Doing that now for my CompTIA network+ exam.

Calhoon -

Serious question. If you are reading a book on a new subject that you are not familiar with how many times do you have to read it before you know and understand the content?

Only once, It’s more a question how many times to read certain pages, I won’t go to a new page if I don’t ‘get’ the previous page.  Worst case continue forward a bit and then go back if forward was needed to try and understand previous elements.

ConradB -
Calhoon -

Serious question. If you are reading a book on a new subject that you are not familiar with how many times do you have to read it before you know and understand the content?

Only once, It’s more a question how many times to read certain pages, I won’t go to a new page if I don’t ‘get’ the previous page.  Worst case continue forward a bit and then go back if forward was needed to try and understand previous elements.

When reading, I used to get to something I didn't understand and from that point on I would lose focus on what I read in the future, therfore not understanding it either.

You can go back and try to understand it like you mentioned, but I have learned a mind hack that has worked for me.

The mind hack works because supposedly your mind wants to focus on the thing you did not understand and like I said when you read on you cant focus on the new topic. But often when you read on you will find more iformation that will allow you to better understand what you were stuck on. So the answer, and this came from a psychology major, is to simply take a note of what you don't understand and this somehow allows your mind to let it go so that you can continue reading. Often times the understanding will come together with further reading but there are times when you still dont understand and you can look at your notes and then go back and review to see if you understand better or look to other sources on that specific topic. 

This trick probably doesn't seem like much here but it helps a lot for me when studying a new topic. It is hard to read about something you do not understand.

Three times.  

 

once straight through

once again, highlighting topic sentences & important bits as I go

one last time only reading the highlighted portion

CavemanDave -

It depends how interesting it is. 

If it's a killer topic im facinated with, I typically note it somehow with a label to go back and reread sections.  Rarely do I find an entire book worth reading twice all the way through. 

This is a good answer but at the same time there really is no black/white answer. For instance, I have been fascinated with real estate investing for a while and am absolutely soaking up the information. Some of these books, one read and I am maybe marking a couple of pages to return to at some point in the future but generally getting all the info in one reading. Information Security on the other hand... When I was studying it I was super into the subject but ended up referencing the books countless times because of the detail, acronyms, definitions, etc. 

So, a book being interesting definitely plays into it, as well as your own interest in the subject, and also the subject matter. So my anwer is that "it depends."

ConradB - 
Calhoon -

Serious question. If you are reading a book on a new subject that you are not familiar with how many times do you have to read it before you know and understand the content?

Only once, It’s more a question how many times to read certain pages, I won’t go to a new page if I don’t ‘get’ the previous page.  Worst case continue forward a bit and then go back if forward was needed to try and understand previous elements.

same. i've definitey "ratcheted" my way through a lot of books. some of it's because i somehow find myself reading for paragraphs or even pages not actually thinking about what i'm reading. sometimes my weak brain just doesn't grasp what i'm reading.

Three or four times if it’s a picture book