You Read a Book. And in Two Weeks You Forgot What You Read. Here is How to Retain Most of What You Read! (My 2 Simple Tips!)

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.

abraham lincoln

Reading does to your mind, what exercise does to your body.

I heard the above sentence on a YouTube ad. I knew from a long time that reading is very much beneficial to you. I do not know the number of books I have read in the past two years. But, it is at least beyond 35.

I felt and do feel good reading books or listening to audiobooks.

Reading has its benefits:

  • Reading stimulates your mind
  • Reading builds up your neural network in the brain
  • Reading makes your brain sharper
  • Reading reduces stress
  • Reading helps you with building your vocabulary
  • Reading empowers you with new thoughts
  • Reading helps you live longer

I have made sure that I have a good reading list always by my side. A good chunk of my first waking hours are spent on reading and meditation. This helps me put a good foundation to the day.

Now, yes, reading is good. But you know the feeling. After reading several books, you feel like you do not retain most of what you read!! Is this some magic? Why isn’t your brain retaining what you read?

Primarily, our brains work tremendously to edit out the parts of our memories that it feels are not necessary. This is a cool function. Imagine on the other hand, if you retained all that you go through!! Your brain would be a mess. Rather most of what you read is in the recycle bin, ready to be discarded as time goes by.

Then how do you retain what you’ve read?

I follow 2 methods to retain what I have read:

#Method 1: Take Notes 📓

This is my favorite method when listening to Audio Books. I know a book is worth reading when I have the desire to take notes. This is my way of summarising the book and the main points covered in the book.

I revisit these notes whenever I have to write something or even casually just to browse through the history. By reading/listening and taking notes, I make sure that I have retained most of the important points in the book.

I take note of the main headlines, chapter information, quotes that I like and so on. This is helpful especially it it’s an audio book.

I read the book Essentialism last week. It was an audiobook. So I took notes of the most important stuff in my journal. I go back to this or any other books I have read when I have desire to do so.

I feel happy about it when I reread my notes.

reading and note taking 1

Don’t just listen to the audio book. Although Audible provides a way to take notes within the app, I would prefer to handwrite the things I liked in the book.

#Method No.2 Post It Notes 📝

Some books are complex than others. When I read physical books, I have a highlighter, pencil by my side. I like to underline, highlight. This is a good strategy and works well.

I take this a step forward. Like in my previous method, this involves taking notes. But not in a journal, but on Post It Notes.

As you read a book, you come across many snippets of knowledge, important points that you would like to refer later. I write this on a Post It Note and stick it at the inner cover of the back page.

post it and highlight

My handwriting is awesome!!

This is an easy way for me to refer in the future on the important topics, highlights.

I don’t have to reiterate on the benefits of reading. Reading helps you in more ways than you can imagine. It is also beneficial for you to retain the most important things that you have read. The Two methods that I mentioned here are not exhaustive. There methods work for me personally.

If you do have a better way of reading and retaining what you read, please let me know.

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

ralph waldo emerson

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