What’s the point of reading if we don’t remember what we’ve read? What’s the point of reading without understanding?
It’s time to shift our way of reading. Try this. Every book you read from now on, apply these 3 steps to make it stick.
- Write down a few takeaways. The practice of writing on a program like Evernote or in your journal will help your brain capture the main ideas. I once heard that you should write a one page summary of the book and place it in the first page so that you can always reference back to it for a quick recap. Another idea is to write a few quotes on your Twitter or some other social media channel. This will help you solidify some of your key points.
- Apply what you read. If it’s a practical book on leadership, cooking, or anything that can be exercised, begin to apply a principle or a thought in your everyday life. It’s one thing to write it down but when you actually apply what you are reading, the synapses in your brain are forging a deeper memory of what you are taking in. For example, when you are learning a new instrument, you can read about how to play an instrument but the learning is taken to greater heights when you actually practice and apply what you have read.
- Share or teach someone a principle. Sharing with someone else about what you have read helps you to process and crystallize your learnings. Otherwise, your highlights and notes you have from the book could sit there for years without notice or you may have applied your learnings a few times but moved onto the next thing. But when you actually have opportunities to share and teach a particular subject, knowledge or skill, you will be able to acquire that next level of proficiency – or even mastery.