Reading Mastery (Retaining (contd) (Know Your Why What are you reading…
Know Your Why
What are you reading this book for? Entertainment? To understand something or someone you don’t know? To get better at your job? To improve your health? To learn a skill? To help build a business?
Build a Vivid Mental Picture
Make Mental Links
Books do not exist in a vacuum. Every concept or fact can be linked to countless others. Making an effort to form our own links is a fruitful way to better remember what we read.
Keep Mental Models in Mind
Confirmation Bias, Base Rates, Pareto, Leverage, Incentives, Availability Bias, Stereotyping, Social Proof, Narrative Instinct, Survivorship, Utility
(1) Apply what you've learned, (2) Feynman Technique (teach others, identify gaps, go back to source material, review&simplify (3) Make your notes searchable, and (4) Reread!
1, 10, 30, 60
Apply What You’ve Learned
-How can you use what you have learned?
-We have to contextualize the knowledge.
-When does it work? When doesn’t it work?
-Where can I apply it?
-What are the key variables?
There are four simple steps: choose a concept; teach it to a toddler; identify gaps and go back to the source material; and review and simplify.
Effective Note Taking
Underline major points,
Place a star/asterisk to emphasize the most important statements in the book
Place numbers in the margin to indicate a sequence of points in the argument
Place page numbers of other pages in the margin to remind you where else in the book the author makes the same points,
Circle keywords or phrases
Write your questions (and perhaps answers) in the margin (or at the top or bottom of the pages).
Step 1: At the end of each chapter write a few bullet points that summarize what you’ve read and make it personal if you can — that is, apply it to something in your life. Also, note any unanswered questions.
"Essentially, I’m trying to engage in a conversation with the author. Maybe my questions will be answered on the next page or in the next chapter. Maybe I’ll need to find another book to answer them. Who knows. But I write them down."
Step 2: Pick up the book again and go through all your notes. Most of these will be garbage but there will be lots you want to remember. Write the good stuff on the inside cover of the book along with a page number.
mental summary of the book’s main arguments and gaps
Step 3 : Wait a few days...Copy out the excerpts by hand or take a picture of them to pop into Evernote. Tag accordingly.
To aid recall, connect the ideas to something you already have in your mind. Is it a continuation of the idea? Does it replace an idea? Is it the same idea in a different discipline? I add these connections to my notes and percolate them in my mind.
Step 0 : Systematic Skim
Schopenhauer Strategy - Mastering the best of what other people have already figured out.
Step 1 - What is the book about as a whole? (leading theme)
Step 2 - What is being said in detail and how? (main ideas, assertions, and arguments)
Step 3 - Is the book true, in whole or part? When you understand a book, however, you are obligated, if you are reading seriously, to make up your own mind. Knowing the author’s mind is not enough.
Step 4 - What of it? ... Why does the author think it is important to know these things? Why is it important to you to know them?
What to Read
Get back to basics. Understanding the basics, as boring as it sounds, is one of the key elements of effective thinking.
Build your foundation. (Feynman one pager)
The multidisciplinary mind understands the basic ideas. Acquiring the basic mental models from multiple disciplines allows you to see things that other people can’t.
Understanding the basics allows us to predict what matters. Put simply, people who understand the basics are better at understanding second and subsequent order consequences.
Lindy Effect - Time can predict value.
What has been will continue to be. The second idea is the Lindy Effect, which is just a fancy way of saying what’s been around will continue to be around.
- Twenty-five pages a day adds up over time.
- Finishing the book is optional. You should start a lot of books and only finish a few of them.e
(1) stand the test of time; (2) pique your interest; or (3) resonate with your current situation
Time - meaning how relevant is this historically? How long will it be accurate — what will it look like in ten minutes, ten months, ten years?
Details - You want to learn from people with a deep, accurate fluency in their area of expertise; stay away from those articles that make money by skimming the surface
Mind as a Library
The information you store in there — its accuracy and relevance;
Your ability to find/retrieve that information on demand
Finally your ability to put that information to use when you need it — that is, you want to apply it.
What you Read (Brain) == Diet (Body)
4 Levels of Reading
Elementary (Passive Reader)
Rule 1: Classify the book according to kind and subject matter.
Rule 2: State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity.
Rule 3: Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole.
Rule 4: Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.
Superficial reading - Skim the book to better understand of the book’s contents and its structure. Do you go deeper? Or let the book go?
Systematic reading - Quick check of the book, the author's standpoint or argument (1) reading the preface; (2) studying the table of contents; (3) checking the index; and (4) reading the inside jacket.
Syntopical (Active) - involves reading many
books on the same subject
and comparing and contrasting
the ideas, vocabulary,
Step 1 - Finding the Relevant Passages (across all books)
Step 2 - Bringing the Author to Terms, Rather than using the author’s language, you must use your own. In short, this is an exercise in translation and synthesis.
Step 3 - Getting the Questions Clear, Rather than focus on the problems the author is trying to solve, you need to focus on the questions that you want answered.
Step 4 - Defining the Issues, If you’ve asked a clear question to which there are multiple answers then an issue has been defined. Opposing answers, now translated into your terms,
Step 5 - Analyzing the Discussion, The value is the discussion you have with these authors. You can now have an informed opinion.
Retaining What You Read (Blank Sheet)
Step 1: Before you start reading a new book, take out a blank sheet of paper. Write down what you know about the subject you’re about to read — a mind map if you will.
Step 2: After you are done a reading session spend a few minutes adding to the map (I use a different color ink).
Step 3: Before you start your next reading session, review the mindmap (I use mine as a bookmark sometimes.)
Step 4: Put these mindmaps in a binder, and periodically review them.
"It's not what you read, it's how you read"
"Asking a book questions as you read makes you a better reader."
GK: Adept at, scraping for key ideas, making connections across these key ideas, and challenging the content with questions