There are two types of people when it comes to reading books: those who only read each book once and those who read some books more than once. As you can see from the title of this article, I belong to the second camp, and will explain why I read good books twice or more. I also wrote about how to read more books in another article.
But which books am I talking about exactly? You should differentiate between novels and non-fiction books. Novels and stories can of course be read more than once, but you usually do this out of nostalgia or because you want to delve deeper into the story. In this article, however, I will focus on non-fiction books that impart knowledge. because even if you already know this knowledge, re-reading still offers great value.
Your Knowledge Is Deepened
Even if you already know which arguments and theories are presented in the non-fiction book you are re-reading, you can deepen this knowledge. Especially if you last read the book a long time ago, you can deepen your knowledge of the author's arguments, examples and position. You may even uncover misunderstandings that arose the first time you read the book.
Admittedly, much of this benefit can also be achieved by reading a summary or your own book notes and in situations where you need to recapitulate the knowledge quickly, I would recommend these methods. However, if you want to delve deeper and more intensively into the subject, it may be worth re-reading the entire book.
You Learn Something New
Especially in the case of extensive non-fiction books, some things will not be understood, overlooked or not correctly categorized the first time you read them. In the best case, this leads to gaps in knowledge or only a superficial understanding; in the worst case, misunderstandings or learning misunderstood information are the consequence.
Anyone who re-reads a book already knows the structure and the main arguments. This makes it easier to categorize and understand the information in the book. Every time I re-read a book, I find techniques, examples and points that I had previously overlooked.
You Get a Different Perspective
After re-reading, you have gathered information that forms a new picture that can change your whole perspective on a topic. Old information can appear in a different light thanks to new arguments. In addition, the “mental map” of a topic is completed, on which the various sub-topics and their relationships are connected, so that a deeper understanding of the topic is achieved.
In addition, you connect the “old” book with the works of other people that you have read later. This allows you to combine different perspectives on a topic (e.g., pro and con) and develop a more balanced perspective of your own.
Two Positive Side Effects
In addition to these important reasons, there are also two smaller side effects. Firstly, you can see how far you have come when you pick up books again that you last read years ago. Especially when you look at your own notes, you realize how much you have learned.
Secondly, you save money because you don't have to pay to re-read books you already own. In the long run, these savings can add up and actually make a difference. This is not to argue against buying new books, but if you're short on cash in a month, re-reading books is a great way to save money and still learn something new.
In summary, re-reading books only has advantages. However, you need to make sure that you expand your own literature notes when re-reading, so that you retain what you have learned in the long term.
The only exception is when you need to recapitulate the knowledge of a book quickly. In this case, it makes more sense and it is more efficient to read only a summary or your own notes rather than the entire book.