我們不妨先想想，自己在辦公室一天當中所 " 讀 " 的英文資訊有多少呢？可能是讀報紙或網路上的國際新聞，電子郵件，商業報告或雜誌 ... 等。為了要得知新消息， " 英文閱讀能力 " 絕對是工作上需具備的能力之一！那麼，要做到什麼程度才算 " 會讀 "(a good reader) 呢？除了追求讀的 " 速度快 " 之外，更重要的是要 " 理解 " 文章的輪廓、要點、和細部資訊。最後，讀文章的目的，也是為了要讓自己吸取新知以增長見聞和提升實力。綜合以上所提的，要做到 " 大量閱讀 " 以增加閱讀速度，要看 " 結構明確嚴謹 " 的文章以判斷要點，還要讀有 " 精闢見解 " 的內容以增廣見聞，那麼，最佳的閱讀教材便以 The Economist ( 經濟學人 ) 週刊莫屬了！
多數的人都認為 The Economist 內容艱深難理解，單字冷僻又不實用，若您也是這麼認為的話，那可就錯了！ The Economist 所撰寫的內容都是最貼近世界現況的新聞或消息，用字遣詞不但精確，瞭解了之後還讓人有 " 啊！原來中文的 xxx 意思用英文就是這樣說呀！" 的感覺呢。因此，長期累積並大量閱讀 The Economist 的時事商務文章，不但可以讓自己的視野更廣闊，更可以學到極為實用的英文字彙。
那麼初學者有心進入接觸 The Economist 文章之前，要有什麼樣的心理準備呢？是要抱定主意，一週內要看完一整本，並地毯式地掃瞄看完每一個字嗎？還是將所有單字之處都查一次字典呢 ? 若真的這麼做，恐怕讀個 一兩 段就看不下去了，無法持之以恆。要進入 The Economist 領域，倒可以做一些有效的準備：
- 將 The Economist 首頁的 "Contents" 內標題掃描過一次，大概看一下 "Briefing" ， "Asia" ， "China" ， "United States" ， "The Americas" ， " Special report" ， "Europe" ， "Britain" ， " International" 與 "Business" ... 等大標題之下各有什麼吸引你想進一步閱讀的文章主題。若壓根就不感興趣的文章，硬要每個字都看完便顯得過於吃力，無法真正融入文章情境中。就 Mar/2nd/2013 這一期的 The Economist 標題來說，看到 Working from home Yahoo bans it 標題時心中不免有疑惑：" 現在講求 mobility 的時代，怎麼會有公司要求員工不能在家工作，而非得出現在辦公室呢？ "，於是便引發興趣繼續閱讀，以瞭解更多內容。
- 選定了自己感興趣的文章之後，便可以將標題與全文大略地掃描一次，看自己是否可以瞭解此文章大概會是講哪方面的事：作者是僅描述一件事實嗎？還是在比較某議題的正反面嗎？若作者有加入自己的意見，那是持同意還是否定的態度呢？這些大方向的內容，都可以從文章 "organization"( 結構 ) 中來觀察出來。在此階段，試著都先不要拘泥在不懂的單字上，有生字就讓它過去，先試著將精神放在看出 " 文章的全貌 " 方向上。
- 大概地抓住了文章主題之後，便可以進一步深入瞭解細節。細節部份不外乎就是關於 " 人， 事，時，地，物 " 等細部資訊。可以在一邊閱讀的同時一邊要求自己，找到關於 Who? What? Where? When? 和 Why? 的內容，問自己 " 此文章主角是誰？ " ； " 此主角發生了什麼事，讓文章變成人們會關注的書寫主題？； " 此主角為什麼會做這種決定？ " 等等。
- 深入瞭解文章內所描述的事實 / 故事之後，可以同時找找作者的意見為何？作者是否有舉數據、事實、研究結果、名人背書 ... 等證據，來支援此文章內所提到的要點。另外，作者是否有討論到關於此文章議題的正反兩面比較？若有的話，兩方面的衝突點為何？又作者是否有提及未來可能的發展或提供建議的解決方案呢？
- 若真的可以抓出以上的主要資訊，對文章內容的理解程度大概可以高達 70% 至 80% 了。這時候，若真的對文章某段落內出現數次的單字有疑慮，有興趣多加瞭解一些單字，那麼就可以將單字記到筆記本中，透過查字典瞭解意義之後，再回過頭將單字出現的整個句子重看一次，以瞭解單字在句子中的用法。
由以上五個準備步驟可以清楚地看出，要瞭解文章在講些什麼，將每個單字都查一遍，可能不會是最佳的方法。重要的是，瞭解文章的結構與全貌， 5 W's 細節，作者意見，正反比較 ... 等等，才是真正會影響我們對文章理解程度的關鍵。
以下，我們就實際由一篇文章 (Mar/2nd/2013) 來做範例，看看整體的文章結構是如何鋪排的。
在看此篇關於 Yahoo 的文章前，請先想想以下中文意思會以哪個英文字詞來表示呢？
（b）讓 [ 某事 ] 變得輕而易舉
接下來，此篇大約有 770 字的範例全文如下：
The future of telecommuting
Corralling the Yahoos
Technology allows millions of people to work from home. A big tech firm is trying to stop them
“ YOU can't have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you,” writes Marissa Mayer, the boss of Yahoo, in a blurb for a book called “Rebooting Work”. But not, it seems, if you are a Yahoo employee and working from home is really important to you. As part of her efforts to reboot the ailing internet firm, Ms Mayer has decreed that from June all the company's staff will be expected to come into its offices to do their jobs.
The news of Ms Mayer's ban on telecommuting surfaced in the form of a memo to employees sent by Yahoo's head of human resources. It was promptly leaked to All Things D, a technology-industry blog, and unleashed a fevered debate in the blogosphere and on Twitter. Supporters saw it as the brave act of a boss determined to rid the company of slackers. Critics lambasted the firm for an antediluvian attitude towards the workplace.
Among the latter was Sir Richard Branson, a British entrepreneur who wrote in a blog post that the decision was “a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever”. “Yours truly has never worked out of an office,” added the bearded boss of the Virgin Group, “and never will.” On the other side, Donald Trump, an American television showman and property magnate, tweeted that Ms Mayer was “right to expect Yahoo employees to come to the workplace vs. working at home.”
The decision touched a raw nerve in Silicon Valley because it is in the midst of a bout of soul-searching about the workplace. Why, many people are asking, have so few women risen to the top of the tech world? (Ms Mayer herself is a rare exception.) The news has also triggered a broader discussion about how much freedom workers should be given to decide where to spend their working hours.
Fans of telecommuting point out that it is on the rise almost everywhere. A survey of over 11,000 workers in 24 countries published last year by Ipsos, a polling firm, found that almost a fifth of respondents who said they are connected online to their workplaces telecommute frequently; 7% of those polled said they worked from home every day.
That fridge looks tempting
Ipsos also discovered that telecommuting is more prevalent in emerging markets than in rich ones, but it is growing in the latter, too. According to figures published last October by the US Census Bureau, American workers who spend most of their time toiling from home rose from 3.6% of the workforce in 2005 to 4.3% in 2010. The bureau also noted that home-based work in computer, engineering and science is rising particularly fast, growing almost 70% between 2000 and 2010. Given that many technology firms produce the devices and software that make working from home a breeze, it seems sensible to let their employees use them.
Why, then, has Ms Mayer put telecommuting on hold at Yahoo? The leaked memo said the habit has slowed the firm down and made it harder to have serendipitous meetings that can give birth to new ideas. Yet plenty of innovative technology firms such as Facebook move pretty fast while allowing some people to work from home. Banning telecommuting outright punishes good employees as well as bad, says Joan Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
A growing body of evidence suggests it harms productivity, too. A recent study by academics at Stanford University and the University of Beijing reports the results of an experiment at CTrip, an online travel company in China that is quoted on America 's NASDAQ stockmarket. The firm split some of its call-centre workers into two teams. One team worked at home for nine months; the other in the company's offices. At the end of the period, the academics found the telecommuters had handled calls more efficiently, taken fewer breaks and had been 13% more productive than their peers. Job satisfaction was also much higher among the homeworkers.
Admittedly, Ms Mayer's staff are highly skilled people, such as programmers, who may need more face time with colleagues. They may also telecommute in exceptional circumstances. But insisting that everyone normally show up is risky at a time when tech firms are ruthlessly poaching talent from rivals. Since she took over at Yahoo last July, Ms Mayer has pushed her battered firm's share price up 35%. Her latest decision could put those gains in peril.