The most important elements of a good book summary

Many people find it quite exhausting to read a book. In particular, it’s a matter of finally sitting down and getting started, because there’s hardly any time found for that. And even if the beginning is mastered, the attention span often turns out to be quite short, so that people give up after a few minutes. The text was read, but not really understood or even internalized.

However, this does not have to be the case. There are some valuable tips on how to read more effectively. This is especially important when a summary of a book is required in an exam or scientific paper.

The reading environment

When it comes to reading as effectively as possible, distraction is generally the biggest problem. Through this, the focus on the important content of the book is eventually quickly lost.

Therefore, the first important tip for a successful book summary, such as the Summary of Good to Great by Jim Collins, is to choose a pleasant tempered and, above all, quiet environment for reading, in which the risk of distractions is minimized.

Avoid distractions

It makes a lot of sense to turn off your smartphone while reading. Otherwise, the risk of glancing at the display every five minutes is simply too great. Even if the device is only used to read the time, the message that has just been received is usually read briefly. Therefore, the best solution is to turn off this source of distraction completely.

In addition, all important tasks should be completed before starting to read. Otherwise, these will also cause distraction in the back of the mind while reading. This would prevent the attention from actually being fully focused on the words in the book.

Obtain information in advance

Before starting to read the first page, it is advisable to obtain some information about the book in advance. In this way, it is often even possible to develop an honest interest in the work.

The blurb of the book is useful in this context. This makes it possible to familiarize oneself both with the content of the book and with the author. In addition to the blurb and the back cover of the book, you can also study the introductory words or read a synopsis beforehand.

Skip chapter

The table of contents of the book ideally prepares the reader for the topics that the particular book has in store for him.

It is not uncommon for some chapters to be less important than others for a good book summary. These may well be skipped. In this way, it is possible to concentrate much better on the contents that are actually relevant for the book summary.

Consider the book as a working tool

In order to ensure that the important book contents are really anchored in the memory, the book should be regarded as a working tool.

This means, for example, making notes on the pages, underlining important sentences, or inserting post-its in important places. To make it even easier to summarize the entire book afterwards, it is also a good idea to briefly summarize each chapter for yourself after reading.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.