When reading a book, how do you ensure that you remember and retain as much information as possible?
That’s a question I get asked all of the time, so here are my 5 steps to help you to get the most out of a book.
Step #1 – How do you learn best?
The first thing to consider is your individual learning style and how you learn best.
For example, I learn best when I read a physical book. I can still learn a certain amount from e-books and from audiobooks, but, for me, I retain more information when I can physically hold the book in front of me.
Everyone is different and you may find that you learn best through audio or e-books.
So, your first step is to understand your learning style and to purchase books in that format.
Step #2 – Minimal distractions
Before you begin reading, find a place where you will have minimal distractions.
No matter what kind of book you prefer, if there are activities and noises going on around you, you will not be able to fully focus on the information.
You may think that you are concentrating, but part of your brain will always be focused outwards on your surrounding environment.
So, to help you get the most out of a book find a place that is quiet and peaceful.
Step #3 – Take your time
Don’t try to race through the book!
There are no prizes available for the person who finishes first. It is not a race.
I often find that those who try to “speed-read” focus so much on reading faster that they forget to focus on the actual information they are reading.
You won’t get the full benefit of the content if you skim through it quickly. Take your time and read at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
Step #4 – Take notes
You should take notes for two reasons:
- It helps to cement the key points as you are reading
- They help when you come to re-visit the book in the future
You can take notes in three ways:
- Highlight paragraphs and scribble notes in the margin
- Make notes on a separate piece of paper and slot it into the book
- Make notes in a separate notebook (e.g. “My Book of 100 Books“)
You can choose whichever method suits you best. I personally use a combination of (1) highlighting the book and (3) making notes in my workbook.
Step #5 – Re-visit the book
It’s impossible to remember everything you’ve read. Therefore, it’s a good idea to re-visit the book from time-to-time.
You don’t need to necessarily read the whole book from cover to cover. You can simply look through your notes and read the key points.
Also, as you continue collecting books and building your mini-library, you don’t need to be able to recall every single bit of information, you just need to know in which book you can find it. Kinda like a reference point.
For example, if I have forgotten how to format the title tags in a blog post, I can go to a book on content creation, find my notes, and refresh my memory on how to do it.
So, don’t worry too much if you can’t remember everything from the book; you’re only human! The important thing is that you know where to find the information should you need it in the future.
Share your tips!
So, those are my five tips on how to get the most out of a book. I hope you find them helpful in your reading and learning journey.
If I missed anything out, or if you have any other tips that you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments box below.