How can I learn to read technical documents?
October 21, 2009 5:56 AM Subscribe
When I read technical documents or books, my mind fuzzes over and I get easily distracted. It's hard for me to get a deep understanding of technical subjects. This is starting to become an issue professionally. What can I do?
posted by anonymous to education (10 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
For as long as I can remember, I've had a hard time reading technical documents or books. This sucks, because I'm a sysadmin and have been working with computers for as long as I can remember and don't want to do anything else. I made it through my computer science degree largely by learning through doing and labs. Lectures and required reading, however, both had the same effect: about 10 minutes in, as soon as the technical details surfaced, my mind glossed over and it became extremely hard to pay attention. The same thing happens today: I get past the background information in a whitepaper or a design document from a coworker and I find myself not having understood the last five paragraphs I just read. Or, just as frequently, I end up following background links and never making it back to the original document in question.
I do not have this issue when I'm engaged in a one-on-one conversation.
To be clear: I'm quite capable of reading long books on my own; I just finished reading Neal Stephenson's 3000+ page Baroque Cycle and have started on another, equally as long series which I'm happily reading. There is no issue when there's a compelling plot, just when there are a lot of technical details.
I'm looking, in particular, for advice from other people who have had this issue and have done something positive to work around it.