During my undergrad, we had a reading assignment (for most courses) which would nearly cover up the entire textbook including introductions, summaries, "did you know" and other such fluff material.
In graduate school as pointed out in most answers here on SE, one does not read the whole book cover to cover but just read the parts you need and backtrack if doubts. But is this also true if I'm starting out in a new field?
I had my BS in Engineering and I'm pursuing my grad studies in Math, certain topics like Topology are completely new to me. I don't need the whole of Topology but just certain bits and pieces.
Should I attain some familiarity with the topic by reading a good introductory book cover to cover or just dive in (into a completely alien field) and understand only the parts I need?