How to Get More from What You Read

Listen to the Podcast

I listened to “The Futur with Chris Do” yesterday. It had lots of tips to help you read faster and remember information better.

Click the link below to listen to the episode. Scroll to the end of this post if you want to know how to use these ideas inside Notion.

Notes on the Podcast

  • You don't have to finish a book once you get the main idea.
  • Read books in 90 minute, focused bursts.
  • Make notes in the margins and add an index at the start with quick points and page number.
  • The whole point of non-fiction books is to pass on information from the author to your brain. Highlight and write notes in the book. It's not going to live in a museum.
  • Why do you want to read this book? What do you want to learn from this book? Be intentional.
  • The quality of input affects the quality of output. 90 minutes of reading should be your only focus.
  • Use your finger to scan across lines on the page to read faster and keep focused at the same time.
  • Teaching something creates the highest level of retention.
  • Read the table of contents to get a clue to the author's intention, his or her point of view, and the thesis.
  • Look for ways to practise what you learn so you can remember it better.
  • Learning can be addictive. You need to exercise what you've learned. Speak it. Draw it. Transform what you've read into something else to own it.
  • Taking notes helps but they're not that sticky. If you can talk about it and draw it at the same time, it'll stick. Then you can purge your short-term memory to make room to learn more.
  • We're trying to deepen the hooks of new ideas in your brain. Abscond is a weird word. To remember it if it's new to you, make up a short, memorable story about it. Abscond sounds like "Abs gone". Where did my abs go? They ran and hid. They absconded. Then use that word in the real world.
  • In a book, highlight only the important words. Leave out the fluff to simplify the idea.
  • Read many books on the same subject, then compare arguments to form an opinion.
  • The first chapter of a book generally has the thesis and the big idea. The last chapter is generally the summary. Sometimes this is enough.
  • Use the 3, 2, 1 technique. For each chapter, jot down 3 takeaways, 2 memorable quotes and put it together into 1 memorable post.

How does this all fit in with Notion?

Everything is digital. Books aren't the only way we consume information. We listen to podcasts, audio books, read articles and watch YouTube videos. We can't make physical notes on these so we need a digital solution such as a Notion database.

My database is simple and also acts as a general personal wiki. I tag everything in there by topic. This lets me find all my notes around a certain topic by using database filters. I do the same thing with the author property. Apart from that I have the title of the content, what format it's in (video, article, book), and a brief summary.

Notion is great for storing content so inside each entry I'll have a page for the content itself if I can.

Articles can be copied straight into Notion. You can then highlight words or paragraphs and write notes as a comment. If I'm reading a book, I'll write down notes. I'll write the page number down or chapter if I'm doing chapter summaries. For videos and podcasts, I'll do the same but write the time next to my note.

A final idea to make your note taking even better in Notion is to use a template. Each time you make notes on a new piece of content, use your template. For example, this template could ask you 2 questions at the end:

  1. What is the main thing you learned from this content?
  2. How will you practise what you've learned?

I hope this content has brought you value. Make your own notes on it and let me know. You can ask me any questions by sending an email to [email protected].

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