How to Summarize a Book

Posted by Splice, Essay Tips Chief Writer

How to Summarize a Book. In summarizing a book, take note of its different chapters. You can browse through the table of contents of the book and identify the main divisions or sections. Each main chapter corresponds to one major argument or idea in the book. Here are a few more tips to summarize a book.

  1. Write down each chapter title of the book. This will serve as the topic for each segment of the book you are summarizing.

  2. Below each chapter title that you have listed, write down the main ideas corresponding to each chapter. Try to be as simple and direct as possible. Avoid lengthy and complex sentences. Keep straight to the point. This will help you remove unnecessary words that are better left out.

  3. The chapter titles and their corresponding main ideas that you have just listed down will serve as the outline of your book summary. Try to pick things up from there and expand your sentences by elaborating the ideas.

  4. After elaborating your outline, get the main thesis or primary argument of the book. Use this as part of the introduction of your book summary. Include the name of the author(s), the editor(s) and year of publication.

  5. Conclude your summary by pointing back to the main thesis of the book.

A few more tips:

  • DO NOT write whether the book is poorly written or excellently discusses the ideas. Remember, you are simply writing a summary and NOT a book review.

  • DO NOT write down irrelevant ideas. They only make your book summary a mess.

  • DO NOT make-up ideas that are not included in the book. Be as honest as possible. Write only what the author has said and not what was not stated.
These are just some main points in summarizing a book.

You may want to know how to summarize an essay, a research paper or other articles.

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