Have you ever made lemonade by just looking at the lemon🍋 ?
Most probably, No!
Then what makes you think that just reading a book is going to help you in any way?
I have been reading books for a long while now and until now, I had never been able to remember more than 5% of what I had read. I felt as if those books were only wasting my time and money. I was not going anywhere! I was still the same Karan I was a few years back. Other than a few buzzwords, I had not retained anything valuable. It was like, I was trying to make lemonade by just looking at the lemons.
Well, fast-forward to today, I can retain most of what I read. Before you start reading your next book, I want you to go through this simple 4 step process. This is what has helped me get the most out of every book I read.
Note: Books cost money and time and it’s better to read them the right way or not do it at all. By books, I mean only non-fiction (business/strategy/self-help/etc).
Before you get started, you would need:
- A pen/pencil ✍️
- A rough paper 📃
- An Evernote Account (optional, but I’d highly recommend)
1. Read less. Divide the book into equal parts.
Depending upon the size of the book and the text, I read only 20 to 40 pages a day. For instance, when I was reading Zero To One, I read 30 pages per day while I only read 20 pages when I was reading The Art Of Seduction.
- Your brain will probably not be able to process 100 pages at once let alone retain them.
- You’ll be able to focus on other important things in life. Reading books alone does not guarantee success. You have to plan your goals, strategize, execute and achieve!
- Most importantly, you will always enjoy your reading sessions!
I don’t recommend dividing books based on chapters and topics because sometimes one chapter can be way lengthier/shorter than the other.
2. Mark now, take notes later.
While you are reading when you come across something worth noting down, just write down the page, paragraph and line number on a piece of paper.
Once you are done reading, your paper should look something like this,
Now you don’t have to take notes immediately after finishing your reading session. You can do it whenever you like. Just track down those important points using that piece of paper and save them as a new note on Evernote. I prefer Evernote because of its beautiful interface and accessibility on both, Macbook and iPhone.
Before you begin your next reading session, make sure you go through the previous day’s notes. This 2-minute revision would be enough to build that link again and keep things fresh!
By the time you finish reading the book, you would have noted down all the important stuff. Now all you have to do is,
- Create a fresh note.
- Copy and paste all the previous notes into the new one.
- Review the notes and summarize them. Remove anything that is not worth it. Try to cut short everything but make sure you don’t omit the value.
- Highlight the most important parts. It’s like summarizing the summary.
This is how you should be summarizing,
Publicity is more important than marketing for building a great brand. Publicity through press conferences, newspaper articles, TV interviews, magazine articles, etc. News Media wants to talk about What’s New, What’s Hot, What’s First, not What’s better. All the greatest companies ever were first created in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, etc by Publicity, not by Advertising. Publicity is what gives birth to a brand.
Publicity through press conferences, newspaper articles, TV interviews, magazine articles, etc. is what gives birth to a brand.
This way you will end up with a summary that you can read anytime you want. Moreover, the highlighted text will reduce the summary even more.
Note: Never over summarize your book. In the hopes of reducing your 300-page book to a 2-minute read, you might end up with a not-so-valuable summary. My book summaries are often 10–15-minute reads while the highlighted texts are usually 2–3 minute reads. Too short does not work.
4. Revisit and Revise.
This is the last and final step. It’s totally up to you how often you want to go through the summaries.
I go through the highlighted text of old summaries once a day or whenever I am free, and complete summaries once a month.
Revisiting old notes is always fun!
That’s all I want you to know before you read your next book. I want you to be able to extract maximum value from your book, retain the important stuff and most importantly, enjoy every bit of it ♥️.
- Divide the book into equal parts. Read a few pages every day.
- Mark now, take notes later.
- Revisit and Revise.