I skim read but also I challenge myself with texts that I won’t fully understand.
My goal is to grasp the ‘gist’ of concepts but not a working knowledge.
So, I start with an influential paper. Then I click on who Cited it. Then I find what is interesting in the most cited books that cited the original book.
I continue until I get to 2019, where there is usually very few citations yet.
Then I’ll go back and find a teaching textbook that looks interesting.
My reason is: I want to find knowledge that’s teaching the NEXT generation of students NOW and related to my original interest but is as current as possible while also “standard”. (textbooks go through committees and are usually safe, authoritative information).
I do this to prevent myself from getting sidetracked by a fascinating paper that will likely not be influential for the future.
It’s not that I _can’t_ read some of it with struggle but it’s painful.
But with music, I can hear music and play it without reading.
With math, I can read descriptions and can usually get an image in my head and/or form a metaphor that is close enough to grasp meaning.
Unfortunately, my metaphors are sometimes no good. But sometimes they work.