#4: Remember what you Read

Think of a book you’ve read 5 years ago.

How much do you remember about it? What are the key points and takeaways?

If you’re having difficulty coming up with something, you’re not alone. I realized this for myself when I couldn’t remember any of the 7 habits from Steven Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”.

Turns out, it has a lot to do with how we read books. Or rather, how we digest books – since reading is just a part of the puzzle.

I realized there’s more to reading books after hearing about this quote from Tim Ferris. “Great, you read a book. So what? How is it going to affect your behavior, or your beliefs, or actions?”

How do you read books?

Do you pick them up, read them cover to cover, and put them down?

If that is all, you’re missing out on a lot of potential impact books can have on you.

In this issue, you’ll learn about how to better remember, integrate and apply any book’s value so you get a higher return on the time you invested reading it.

It all starts with consciously taking notes of what stands out to you about a book you read, and making a habit of regularly revisiting these notes to ponder over them. You can start doing this now for any books you’ll read in the future, but you can also do it retroactively for books you’ve read already.

The best thing? You don’t even have to do it yourself.

Blinkist is a service that provides book summaries in an actionable format named ‘blinks’. These blinks contain a book’s main takeaways without neglecting details where they help, like citing anecdotes to hammer home a point.

Here’s how you can create a personal library of book summaries for books you’ve read:

  1. Create a Blinkist account
  2. Find books you’ve read
  3. Save them to your Blinkist library

It’s a paid subscription service, but you can use their full feature set with a 7-day-trial.

If you don’t want to lose access to the summaries after 7 days (or – even better – edit them), you can actually save them to a note-taking software. I demonstrated how to do this with Evernote’s web clipper in this LinkedIn video.

Actionable advice for this week: create your personal library of book summaries.

Do it ‘manually’ if you have time and energy, or let Blinkist do the legwork for you. Reflect on the summaries and change them to your own needs. You’ll be surprised how much you forgot, and how much value you’ll (re-)discover.

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