Part Six: Debriefing
The use of a good summary is to highlight the most significant points within a text. If you have explained those points correctly in the bulk of the text, then when the highlights are read they will connect to those wonderfully accurate explanations.
The overall goal of the text will become clear, coherent, and persuading. Any questions of consistency will get wrapped up in the final explanation.
A good summary is very much like a good thought.
Condensing vasts amount of information, good thoughts have critical, deep, and reflective thinking backing them. The same as a good summary.
Read The Book
Becoming a great thinker is like being a great reader. Taking the time to get through the book, when you summarize, that summary will accurately depict what the book is attempting to show. The book may be 700 pages and your explanation 30 seconds; it will bring to life the essence of what the book has to offer.
This is how great thinking occurs. Jumping into the topic, you get as deep as you can, understanding an evaluating along the way. You make your own opinions cohere to the best of your ability. Finally, you understand enough about the topic in order to explain it thoroughly without going over 15 minutes of conversation time.
You have connected the most important ideas whilst being able to explain those ideas accurately if you need to.
The bad thinker attempts to read the summary and believes that is understanding the book. He may memorize it, be able to speak it very eloquently, but if he were ever pressed to answer questions beyond it he would fail.
So, your challenge is to realize the most important questions and read the book on them. Think about them. Evaluate them. When time comes to answer them, show your depth.
Show that you are not a single layer of cookie cutter answers, but a three-dimensional human being who has dealt with tough questions in a courageous way. A person capable of living well no matter the situation.
Show that you have a mind. That you are not a zombie. That you have taken the time to understand the things you talk about.
Show that you have read the book.
Thanks for reading.
Many of the ideas in this guide are inspired by the work of John Dewey. If you would like to learn more about his work on this topic I suggest you start with “How We Think.” I am a big John Dewey fan and recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about thinking.