How to remember what you read in a book?

25 posts in this topic

Have you tried the Feynman Technique?


"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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If the book is really good I would treat it like a friend instead of something you only experience once. Go back to it as many times as you find useful I would say.

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Go take notes, write them down and then read again, edit to make them even better than before. Pick up 3 main points and put it at the top of each review.

Read tons of reviews. You can find reviews on Goodreads or Amazon or librarything. Read and watch tons of book reviews and summary on YouTube. For popular books, you should watch at least 5 summaries to find out different viewpoints! Then read summaries from blinkist as well as others.

Then write or talk about your reviews and summary. Reviews and summaries are actually 2 different things. One is what you think of the book  and the other is a short representation of the book. Lastly, you might want to share your reviews/summaries on facebook group or internet. When you share, people reply and you will get notified and remember them again.

Edited by hyruga

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I took Jonathan Levi's speed reading course. When speed reading your retention and memorization has to be spot on to accommodate very fast reading. Basically the human mind remembers information that is highly connected to existing information, if it has an emotional charge to it it is even better (information connected to people you care about, or about an important project in your work, basically people, maybe it is connected to a traumatic event, or maybe that bit of information helps you dissolve some bit of cognitive dissonance about a topic).

Also, if you connect the information with a location then you boost your ability to recall that information IMMENSELY, which is why memory palaces work extremely well, but they take a lot of effort to create by visualizing it. If you take a place you have grown up or have spent a huge amount of time, where lots of things happened for you, maybe your childhood home, then you can use that as your mind palace. Usually when in the past something important has happened to you, it is highly likely you remember exactly where it happened.

Next thing, if you code the bit of information into a 'visual note', basically construct a caricature of it then you also boost its retention. For example 

Finally, spaced repetition, or reviewing information after increasing time periods, For example reviewing your notes of a book 1 month after reading it, then 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and you will likely remember all the important bits you want to retain.

Memory palaces imo is the most powerful, but also the most effortful way to remember bits of information. You also need different memory palaces for different books, but it might be worth it if you build your skill in constructing and using them.

Imo the easiest method to immediately implement is to just take notes or underline as Leo mentioned. When the book is finished you take time to review, contemplate, and connect that information to what is relevant in your life. You can either just review the notes or read the underlined parts of the book. Then make a plan to review the book maybe a month later, then half a year later, etc. Or you can just use Anki flash card app to remind you when to review it instead.

Last May and June I tried to implement what I learned in the speed reading course but it was tough finishing bachelors thesis and I haven't taken up that goal yet, now I'm very relaxed and lazy reading books, bascailly just underlining and reviewing. But tbh that's probably enough already.

If your LP or occupation or whatever demands that you learn and remember lots of information but not a lot of contemplation (academic-scholar type work, or studying in college, languages, anatomy (just bits of information not too abstract) etc), then mastering and using these memory techniques can be extremely beneficial. But, as far as I understand, this doesn't work for hard to integrate abstract and difficult concepts, which you can only remember after hard contemplation, and maybe trial-and-error in your own life.

Ultimately, you remember the information that is most important and relevant in your own life. You don't need to be a hardass about it like I tried to, just make notes (or underline), and do periodic reviews and contemplate.

One of my strengths is 'Input' or a scholarly-like learning style, which I plan to develop more-so, but lol I'm recovering from the worst ego backlash of my life right now so not a priority atm.

If you want to dive a bit deeper then read Moonwalking With Einstein, or The Only Skill That Matters by Jonathan Levi. Or consider taking his course. If you have problems learning or memory then they can help.

Edited by Tarzan

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