Do you read for fun, or do you read to learn?
Is your intent to tick another goal off your to-do list or gain knowledge?
If you intend to learn, you must try to internalise and remember lessons from the books you read.
Knowledge is only useful if it is retained and applied. What matters is not simply reading more books but getting more out of each book you read.
Do you read a lot but quickly forget what you’ve read?
Here are a few ways you can boost your retention.
1. Read Books You Can Use Instantly
One way to improve reading retention is to read books relevant to your daily life. This way, you can apply the lessons immediately. It’s one of the best ways to secure the lessons in your mind.
For example, if you run a business, you are more likely to pay rapt attention when reading a sales book. You’d want to squeeze out everything you can from the book because it connects to what you do every day. Plus, you are more likely to apply the lessons immediately.
2. Highlight Key Points
While reading, some points naturally feel like an eye-opener. These are points to remember later. Use your highlighter, pen, or pencil to underline or circle them for future reference.
You can also make short notes in the margins of the book. Use sticky notes to mark important pages, so you can easily find them again.
3. Highlight Questions
As you read, write questions that come to your mind. Afterwards, you can do further research to get the answers to your questions.
4. Take Notes
This one works best for me. I’m one of those people who tend to forget things if I don’t write them down instantly.
You can take notes while reading or after reading a chapter or section of a book. It’s an easy way of processing and keeping information. You can always go back to your notes for future reference.
You don’t need to lift everything verbatim from the book when taking notes. Your notes could be a series of questions paired with answers you deduced from the book.
You can also write your key takeaways from each chapter or ideas you got while reading a particular chapter. It could be your interpretation or understanding of the topic in your own words.
5. Read Your Notes
Don’t just take notes. Go back and read them. Your notes are tools for reference. Reading them can help you better understand and clarify the topic. It also reminds you of the things you may have forgotten.
6. Share Your Knowledge
We become experts through deliberate practice and repetition.
Sharing the lessons you learned gives you a better grasp of the topic. The more you talk about it, the more you remember and widen your understanding.
You can do that by joining book clubs and study groups where you can discuss with other readers.
Are there other tips you would like to add?
Do you have a unique method that helps you remember what you read?
Please, share in the comments.