Reading well is important to leaders! Michael Hyatt says Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. I’ve always made it my practice to make the most of any reading I get to do. I’m not the fastest reader, but here’s how I try to make it memorable and useful.
1) I read with a highlighter and pen in hand
The number one thing for me to retain useful stuff from my reading is to highlight it and make a note in the margin. It’s okay to deface a book you own that way! i highlight significant points and great quotes.
2) Rewind and scan!
Having read the book through, the next step for me is to get those quotes in a useful place for using in the future. I want to store them for easy searching and retrieval later. I used to type them in by hand, but that is so time consuming. Nowadays I use a pen scanner – in my case the Infoscan TS – it’s pretty good about 90% accurate. I scan the useful quotes into my own little database online – but a word document would also be good!
4) I summarise the book
Recently I have restarted this practice – I summarise the book in a word document in my “reading” directory – that really seals the nuggets of gold and useful information into my memory and makes it easy to find later. A simple search helps me find useful stuff later where I wander which book it came out of.
Often I find nuggets in books that the title wouldn’t hint would be there. At the moment I am reading “Satan and His Kingdom” by Dennis MacCullum – he has a fantastic appendix on the Servant Songs -my book summary will enable me to find that in a search at a later date, in addition to diving into the more obvious “Isaiah God Saves sinners” by Ray Ortlund or Motyer’s “The Prophecy of Isaiah”
Having a system that makes for easy retrieval of what you have learned is vital to retaining your reading.
How do you remember what you have read?