Many of you read some books in the past. Do you remember them well? I guess, it’s hard to tell. Let’s find out how to read books in a way that you firmly learn important take aways.

How to read books at all

I find books useful for 2 particular things: creating a solid ground for part of knowledge and getting introduced to completely new concepts. For example, I am familiar with aspects of Continuous Delivery, which I learned from practice. But to get the full picture I read Contiunous Delivery in Practice book. However you can have not enough time for reading books or find it hard to motivate yourself to do that. Despite those issues people have no problems scrolling through memes before sleep, and I was one of them too!  If you do that as well I suggest you to follow the life hack I discovered: do not bring your smartphone to the bedroom. Read books instead!

There are obvious benefits to it. Using smartphones before sleep affect the longevity and quality of your sleep. Low quality of sleep affects cognitive abilities. Stopping using the phone in bed helps learning better. Instead pick up a book and read it. This is a great idea on itself: your brain will lay down the info from the book during sleep. I applied it to my own life and I manage to read a book every week or two.

Another way of reading books is actually not reading them, but listening. You can spin up any app for it out there like Audible, LitRes or any other. Before the pandemic thing you could do it while commuting, but now it can be difficult. Still you may happen to work out at home, so make yourself a favor: listen to a book meantime.

So, either read the books before sleep or listen to them during workouts, making dishes or other mental free activity.

How to remember the most of a book

Typically books consist of several hundreds pages. In the meantime the working memory of a human being is limited to 5-7 items at once. The long term memory tend to vanish the knowledge with time. It means you have to help yourself memorizing what you learn. There are several technics to actually remember stuff, and I do practice them all.

  • Take notes. Write the main take aways from each chapter. Do it concisely. Avoid highlighting anything in the book, it does not work. The notes can be in a form of a list, or a mind map - whatever you prefer.
  • Write book reviews. In order to write one, you have to remember what was the book about, which ideas to bring and what you liked and disliked.
  • Write twitter threads about the book. This will force to extract the most useful information and make a thread for your audience.
  • Apply the knowledge. If you learned something - try to apply that! You can do it on your job, or on your pet project, or an imaginary problem. Once you do that you’ll discover you don’t understand some parts. This is a good moment to catch up.
  • Last, but not least: sleep well. If you don’t, you will have hard time understanding the book and remembering the content. Lack of sleep decreases your brain’s ability to organize information.

How to read a book till the end

Don’t worry if you found a particular book hard to read, boring or simply not fo you. That’s perfectly fine! Some time ago I was thinking I lost the ability to read books, but later I realized it wasn’t me, but the book rather. When I find a properly written book, I read it with pleasure. So don’t force yourself to read a book till the end if you don’t enjoy it: better switch to another one.

Instead of summary

Books are insighful. Reading them will improve your life, career or just give some topics for talking with friends. Read them on a regular basis, take notes and feel empowered.

Don’t forget to smile alright! If you liked this newsletter, tell a friend about it.