I am a voracious reader, and am always learning. I figure my ability to read and learn is one of my most valuable skills, so it’s one I practice.
I have a lot of tricks to remember what I read, and be able to use it. These are some great ones I use – though not complete when it comes to how I read. I’d add these additional tips:
- Set a reading goal and track it with a tool (I recommend GoodReads so you can track page/percent progress), this is my number #1 tip – use a WIP limit and focus on done to make greater progress
- Find a note taking technique that works for you, this helps you retain what you learn better. Some have use an old-fashioned notebook, iPad and Apple Pencil, or type up notes in a tool like Evernote.
- Figure out your favorite way to read (audiobooks, ebooks, physical books) or if you’re like me, a combination. Do your favorites most.
- Spend time summarizing what you’ve learned (drawing, writing, talking, teaching, etc)
- Use what you read as jumping off points for new reads: I often check out everything on a subject from the library and pour through them to find the best books.
- Turn off the TV – it’s amazing how much you can do when you’re not in front of the TV.
- Find places you like for reading – it’s easier to make time to read when you’re doing it somewhere you like.
- Try alternate reading techniques for using your available time for reading – for example, if your hands are busy driving or doing chores, listen to audiobooks.
- Try reading, then take notes – sometimes I’d rather read once and return for notes, which can make it easier to find the salient points if I’m not sure where a book is driving to.
- Read it again – if I find a book particularly enjoyable or profound, I may read (or listen to) it again
- Branch out by trying books you might not normally read – you may learn something, or at least expand your horizons – cultivate curiosity and ask questions along the way.
- Be sure to throw in books you know you will like too – this makes it easier to read if you’re in a slump.
- Find other people who read like you (or not like you!) – you’ll get their recommendations and can share yours, as well as finding interesting ways of connecting unrelated ideas together.
- Subscribe to or find a summarizing service if you find it helps you – it can be helpful to refresh your memory (this doesn’t work for me but I know a few readers who like it)
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