6 TIPS TO RETAIN MORE OF WHAT YOU READ
Tuesday 02 June 2020
On yet another ONEderful Monday, let's discover ways to improve our reading
The amount of information we take in increases significantly when we read books that are relevant and that we can apply to our daily lives. This is because the information is useful and of particular interest to us. For example, if we’re learning how to bake, it is helpful to read cookbooks explaining pastry essentials and artisanal techniques to further understand the art. Knowledge sticks better when we have an incentive to put it into practice.
“Nothing so much assists learning as writing down what we wish to remember”- Cicero. Taking notes is the best way to get more out of what we read. It can be as simple as grabbing a blank piece of paper and writing down a single key take-away sentence from each chapter. If you prefer digital solutions, there are plenty of apps and on–line tools to help maintain your notes online in a searchable format. The important thing is to write down what stands out to you.
Here’s a fun exercise. Before you start reading a book, quickly write down everything you currently know about the topic. As you read, add new information by adding to your previous insights. When we read, our brains constantly filter new information in with old data. Retaining new information becomes easier when you can connect it with something that is familiar.
Do you feel guilty about not finishing a book you started six months ago? Don’t. Today’s bookshelves are crowded with both great and mediocre books. Before diving into a new book, take a few minutes to flip through the table of contents and chapters. Perhaps start reading a few paragraphs and pages to gauge your interest. If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t waste your precious time. Start more books, quit average ones and re–read the great ones that spark your curiosity.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of forming a belief system based on a single book we’ve read. This is a dangerous path as it narrows our understanding, instead of widening it. When stumbling across a topic that interests you, try reading a variety of sources by a range of authors. Simply put, try to see the wood for the trees.
Take a speed test to find out your average reading rate. None of us will probably ever read as fast as Bill Gates, but we can certainly improve all the time! Best of luck!