Reading is so important.
As I study successful people, all the way to billionaires, I find that the more wealthy they are, the more they typically consume information. It’s not always through books, but they are truly lifelong learners.
But how do you remember information you read? I’ve read over 200+ books in the last couple years and I’ve been able to retain a large chunk of it, if you’ve seen my impromptu videos or podcasts. How?
With just a few simple tips, you can do the same. No need for a 10,000 essay explaining how. There are articles like that online but nobody has time to read that and it’s not that complicated.
How to remember books you read?
First, choose the right book (or topic).
Choose The Right Teacher
Why would choosing the right information matter? Well, if you choose poorly, you’re stuffing your mind with unnecessary clutter that will make it hard to shuffle through. It will make it harder for you to remember what you need because there’s so much related garbage in your mind. If you are bored with the topic, you’re going to give up consuming and retaining the information a lot sooner.
The truth is that anyone can publish a book these days. There’s countless books with advice that looks good but is wrong. Use these criteria to identify who to listen to:
1. What Results Has He or She Achieved?
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Usually I look to money made first in terms of business advice.
Although millionaire advice is great compared to average people advice, a lot of it is still flawed in certain ways. They’re not perfect and still trying to figure things out.
One of the dangers to these people is that they get too arrogant and rain down advice, thinking they’ve mastered everything.
Richard Branson calls a start-up a baby that is stumbling across numerous mistakes, a medium sized business like a teen with growing pains, and a large business as someone who is maturing but must be aware to not fall behind and keep up with the times.
I look to billionaires usually when I’m looking for specific things: hiring, management, etc. because they’ve gone through the whole stage and they’ve gone through trial and error.
2. Experience in the Craft
I give higher weight to someone like Warren Buffett who has has 60+ years of business experience versus a tech-start up billionaire who did it in 5 years. Generally speaking, the latter lucked out in terms of the industry and timing.
Certain industries just don’t have the infrastructure like the tech to rise that quickly.
It still happens but it is incredibly rare for a 5 year success. Because it still requires a lot of business savvy to get it right, I still give some weight, just not as much, to a tech billionaire.
3. Does He or She Have Any Success Stories?
How many success stories have there been?
How many people have gotten results from this?
Napoleon Hill may not have the previous points, but he gets a pass because he studied 500 of the wealthiest people on earth in person for 20+ years and wrote a book that has made housands of people into millionaires.
4. Scientific Evidence
I can over-rule the money made component if there’s tons of science and incredible actionable results.
For instance, The How of Happiness goes into extensive scientific research on what actually makes us happy. It turns out it’s not materialistic things like supercars.
Mate: become the Man Women Want goes into extensive cited material as well.
Summarize Efficiently On Paper
Entire pages or chapters can usually be summarized in one to three bullet points. During or after you’ve finished your book (or whatever medium you’re consuming knowledge), create a bullet outline summarizing the concepts you care to remember most.
Some people tend to write too much so make sure you remember to focus on writing about just the concepts you want to retain.
Typing out the outline is fine, but if you’re really struggling to remember concepts, write out the outline by hand. It will burn it into your memory more.
Go back to the outline at least twice within the next 3 months. Review what you have written and try to summarize your summary.
If you can convert your outline into a smaller outline, it’ll help you minimize the key points you need to remember. If there’s a point you want to remember in more detail, don’t be scared to go back to the actual section in the book. There is no rule that says you can’t revisit a book after you’ve finished it.
Have Fun and Make It Fun
The best way to remember what you read is to make sure it’s fun. This is because when you enjoy the process of learning about the topic, it’ll still with you more.
Sometimes, you’re forced to read something you don’t care about and you can only make it so fun. Even then, be creative and open-minded. You can discover a passion for a topic you thought you’d hate if you give it a chance. I gave CrossFit a chance numerous times even though the first couple experiences were lackluster. As I made an effort to see the beauty of the sport and dedication of the athletes, I started to love the activity and watched 3 documentaries on it for fun. Evan Carmichael, a big YouTuber, stumbled across the same phenomenon when he gave Salsa a chance. He thought he’d hate it but he kept an open mind and fell in love with it.
That doesn’t always happen. I tried to force myself to love advanced physiology so I could be a doctor but it didn’t work. In that case, try your best to be innovative in making it fun. Turn it into a game. Find the interesting parts of it. Make it into a song. In the long run, I suggest pursuing a passion because you’ll likely make more, learn more, remember more, and/or enjoy life more by doing so.
You don’t even have to teach to a real person if you’re scared. For me, I throw on a video camera or type up a blog post and launch it live for a few people who may be interested.
By articulating your words and explaining them, you can process your information better and identify areas where you don’t understand concepts as much as you thought.
I learned this lesson when I took Organic Chemistry. After hours of st dying around a single concept, I was asked by a coworker to explain it. While in my head, it made perfect sense, but I had a hard time using words to describe the idea.
If you can’t effectively explain it to someone else in a way they understand it, you haven’t mastered the concept and hard-wired it into your memory yet.
Teaching someone in-person is the best way since they can respond with questions that can identify holes in your understanding. But as mentioned, any form of teaching will improve your abilities.
In conclusion, these are the criteria I work.
What do TONS of other people do?
In fact, there’s tons of people who may or may not be millionaires with successful businesses (again, I’m not sure since it’s not verifiable) who write viral articles about the best books they have read who use these criteria:
- if it’s recommended to them by anyone
- if it has a cool title
Don’t do this!
Do I consider every book that’s recommended? Yes.
But there’s a time cost.
There’s 100,000+ nonfiction books and only so much time.
Use the 4 criteria I mentioned.
What happens when you don’t?
You do the same thing that most average people do when they read viral articles online: they blindly believe what they hear even though the author has no credibility and the advice is the exact opposite of what you should do.
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