The Article that became the Book: Tips for gaining Quick and Effective Knowledge using Breadth and Depth.

During my years of graduate school I had to do a lot of reading. I discovered something important. For most academic books there was also an article that described the same research. For instance, Robert Putnam’s book about social capital “Bowling Alone” started as an article…as do most. It is research first, then an article, then a book that explains the research further. My favorite books I encountered in grad school were those large edited ones that included a number of articles from different authors in the field. These articles tended to sum up their books quite effectively. So, from that point of discovery forward I started to seek to read more articles and less books. The Harvard Business Review is a good example of a source for you to get the necessary information or theory from a number of different books. Each article in their innovation issue for instance represents the significant findings that the various books would explicate. You can become a more interdisciplinary expert on innovation by reading this one issue of many articles than just one of the specific books. I figured that getting to the essence of it 10 different times through reading the 10 different articles in the Harvard Business Review would allow me to innovate myself better than devoting the same amount of time to just one book. Breadth first, then depth for me. Sometimes though through experiencing this breadth of new knowledge you may find a very relevant and intriguing article that you want to go deep on and actually read the book. So my tip is this…seek out the article first, read a bunch of articles, then read a book if the article is very relevant to you.

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