Every day we get a breathtaking amount of information comparable in volume to 174 newspapers. We read too slowly to read everything we need.
In this article, you are going to learn some of the best ways to read way more books and effectively retain information.
1. It All Starts With Awareness of the Goal
Think about what you want to learn before you read.
What life or work task are you facing now, and how exactly does this book that you hold in your hands will help you achieve your goal?
Understanding the goal will set your brain on a wave of answers to questions.
You will read the text much more carefully.
2. Study the Table of Contents and Structure of the Book
Review the annotation and table of contents.
This may seem superfluous, but this way you will know exactly what to expect from the book.
Scroll through a book.
Pay attention to headings, highlighted phrases, images, charts. Viewing a book like this is like looking at a route map for a traveler.
This is necessary in order to be prepared for structural changes, for long or short passages.
3. Get Rid of External Distractions
Lack of attention can be caused by various external distractions, such as email notifications, a ringing phone, a colleague asking questions.
At the time of reading, try to remove all distractions.
Put the phone in airplane mode.
If you’re in the office, put on your headphones.
Move away from the laptop, take the paper book.
Give yourself the setting – “I have 40 minutes during which I will read the book, and afterward I will return to other matters.”
4. Fill the Mental Void
In addition to external distractions, there are also internal ones – thoughts that come on their own, for example: “I need to call my sister.” Or when you start an internal argument with the author: “Do I agree with this? Is enough information given? Can I use this? ”
Why is this happening?
Because the speed with which our brain processes information is seven times faster than the speed of reading.
In other words, when reading, we still have a lot of unused mental space.
Start reading faster.
Literally push yourself. Try reading under the metronome.
Use the pointer to set your speed and not stray from the lines. At first, the pen will seem like an obstacle, but over time, reading with it will become easier and more convenient than without it.
5. Learn to Multitask
It is possible to do only one thing consciously per unit of time.
Sometimes we mistakenly think that someone is doing multitasking.
In fact, this person does not do several things at once, but constantly switches between them. This is disastrous for the result.
It is better to read the whole chapter, and then take the time to remember some key ideas from it, than to alternate memorization and reading.
Because in the case of alternating tasks, you constantly switch between different parts of the brain.
Having finished memorizing, you switched from memory to that part of the brain that is responsible for processing information. Such a switchover takes several minutes each time.
6. Make a Brief Summary After Reading Each Chapter.
After the chapter is finished, set the book aside, write down what you remember best.
Or draw a mind map. Mark the principles, methods or actions that you want to start applying.
Ideally, after you finish reading the book t you should have in your hands a checklist with actions and tips from the book that you can start to perform the next day.
7. Use the Location System to Remember Information
A great example of structuring information is a location system.
This technique of remembering involves linking the information you need to remember with an object in a room you know.
It seems like a lot of effort is required, but what happens in the head?
New information is tied to what you already know very well, such as furniture and other items in your living room. Imagining the living room, you recall the information.
It sounds crazy, but this method is very effective.
8. Explain What Others Have Read.
An explanation of something in your own words allows you to establish relationships that are not directly described in the material.
Using your words, you move away from the original text and connect the information with your knowledge and experience.
As a result, you better understand the information.
9. Use Imagination to Remember
The mechanical repetition of information is the worst way to remember. 1
Engaging in fantasy is an important way to improve the storage of information in our memory.
Let’s see how this happens.
We forget something because what we want to remember is mixed with what we have already learned. New information must somehow stand out, otherwise, it is impossible to remember.
The more incredible and weird the relationship, the better.
Take, for example, the city of Jackson, the capital of the US state of Mississippi.
The name of the city is easy to visualize by imagining Michael Jackson floating in the Mississippi River (ridiculous enough, isn’t it?).
We linked the question “What is the state capital of Mississippi?” And the answer “Jackson” through an unusual visual image.
Can you apply this to everything?
Yes, if you use imagination!
10. Read Book Summaries
They will help save you tons of time, energy, and money!
You can check the summaries on this website. Pick up the one that you really like and go deep into it.
Want really cool advice?
Read 1 summary a day on this blog. Make notes and apply new ideas.
You will become unshakeable!
Which book summary are you going to pick first? 🙂