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Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Devouring Information to become Better


I always love to learn as a developer or when I had just started my career as a developer. What I hated the most was the type of learning that is conducted in the classroom. Which you are forced to go through theoretical knowledge to pass an exam.

I guess I have a bias towards teachers, who are going through the motion in teaching for the sake of teaching. Since I was always the type of person that prefers to learn by working with my hands.

Fortunately, I found out that learning can become fun. Due to the different type of ways we learn and how certain information or knowledge could be used to help to shape our thinking or perception of how we view the world.

Automobile University

Zig Ziglar is the person who shared the concept of Automobile University. Which is converting your non-productive time like your daily commute. To redirect this time for learning that can be translated into actual time spent on gaining knowledge comparable to degrees you take in university.

While I was reading a book called The Leader's Bookshelf that provides 50 recommended book list. To help military officers in the US military to understand leadership and become a better leader in the process to convert lull periods to learning sessions to become a better leader. One of my favourites among the list was the novel called Gates of Fire. That talks about the battle of Thermopylae. Where the 300 Spartan soldiers made their last stand to defend against the Persian invasion of Greece.

How to Read a Book

How to Read a Book is a type of classic book that helps you to absorb & digest a book despite it's a weird title.

This becomes even more relevant as there are more and more books available annually. Which you can read on a whole range of topics from personal finance to philosophy.

Book summary can be easy to digest with little to no effort. This comes with a cost in remembering and referencing these insights or concepts for you to apply it in the real scenarios.

Which in the book teaches you there are actually 4 ways to digest and read a book:

  • Elementary reading - What is taught in schools which to read it from cover to cover.

  • Inspectional reading - Picking out the general outline of the author and being selective on what to read faster.

    • Systematic skimming - Focusing on specific parts of the book like the table of content of a book.
    • Superficial reading - To get a general understanding of the book and quickly browse through to get a basic concept of what the author is trying to convey.
  • Analytical Reading - Analysing the book on what the author trying to convey to gain insights on problem or problems it is trying to solve with the book.

  • Syntopical Reading - Extensive research, analysis, comparing of other authors of the same subject matter. Forming your own deep insights based upon on the terminology, concepts and philosophy that is presented to solve or address a specific problem or problems in that particular subject matter.

Mental Models

Mental models are used to allow one to look at different point of views in the world to make better decisions. Like Steve Job in his persistence in getting every detail to be perfection.

He had tasked his engineers & designers to work tirelessly to figure out getting Apple computer to become the size of a phone directory. With an elegant design for Apple computer that shaped the computer industry or his storytelling in Mac World that took hours to prepare and perfection.

With more mental models, it allows us to have a bigger picture and formulate a way to make better decisions in multiple hats. Not all problems require a cut and dry way of thinking. It shifts with the times to make one adaptable to solve problems that are not encountered before through blending of these different mental models.


I hope it useful to help to devour and digest to make decisions towards actions. With these tips in forming your own thinking and perspective of the world.

PS: I had been a fan of reading books be it in audiobooks, ebooks or physical copies. I would love to know what type of books that help you understand your world to make decisions or actions.

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The original post was on Devouring Information to become Better - Reading Time: 4 Mins and cover image by Lysander Yuen on Unsplash


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