Chaishu—How To Dismantle a Book in Only Two Hours

How do you read and understand the main points of a book in two hours? Chaishu, suggested by Chinese writer Zhou Zhao, has recently grown popular in China. It’s a way to digest non-fiction in a collaborative way of monotasking.

Yuan Gong is member of a Chaishu group that meet regularly in Shanghai:

We often organize reading-related workshops or activities. For today, we studied the long-awaited Monotasking book.” Yuan told me.

This is how you do a Chaishu, which literally can be translated into “Book Dismantling”:

  1. The book is split into chapters, and each person read one chapter.
  2. Set a 30 minute alarm to ensure that everyone is focused on reading.
  3. When the alarm goes off, everyone stop reading, and start sharing their chapter content and their own experience.
  4. Then the participants together rebuild the essentials of the book by creating a mind map.

This means that the group read one book in collaboration. Chaishu makes people jointly focus on one single task for a short period, i.e. collaborative monotasking. On this day they also happened to read the Chinese edition of the Mononotasking book and Yuan was satisfied:

I think this meetup brought your concepts into reality. Chaishu is a useful tool when trying monotasking in teamwork.” Yuan said.


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