My favorite benefit of reading more books is that a good novel can offer you a new perspective on prior events.

It’s as if your brain’s “software” gets upgraded whenever you learn a new mental model or concept. All of your old data points can now be analyzed in a new way. You can glean new insights from your past experiences. “Reading changes the past.”  says Patrick O’Shaughnessy.

However, this only holds true if you are able to retain and apply the lessons you learn from reading. The accumulation of knowledge is only possible if it is kept in mind. In other words, it’s not just about how many books you read, but how much you get out of each one.

Reading is not solely for the purpose of gaining knowledge. It’s possible to enjoy reading for pleasure or enjoyment, but this article focuses on the value of reading for education. Here are some of the best reading comprehension tactics I’ve come across.

Stop Reading a Lot More Books
It doesn’t take long to see if a piece of writing is worth reading. The quality of the writing and the originality of the concepts stand out.

As a result, the majority of people could benefit from starting more books. This does not imply that you must read every page of every book. The table of contents, chapter headings, and subheadings are all easily skimmed. Take a few minutes to go over a part that interests you. Flip through the book and see if there are any highlighted points or tables that you may use as a guide. You’ll get a fair notion of how good it is in ten minutes.

The final step is to put down the book as swiftly as possible, with no sense of regret or shame attached.

Life is too short to read novels that aren’t worth your time. Because of the enormous opportunity cost, it’s not worth it. You can never have too many books to read. A wise man once said: “Life is too short to not read the very best book you know of right now.” I agree with Patrick Collison, the founder of Stripe.

Here’s what I think:

Do more writing. Almost all of them were canceled. The best books should be read twice.

Secondly, select books that can be used immediately.
Make it a point to read literature that you can put into practice right away. One of the easiest ways to remember what you’ve read is to put it into practice. Learning is a lot more efficient when it’s practiced.

Choosing a book that you can put to good use is also a great way to ensure that you retain the information you learn. Even more so when something significant is at stake. People who are establishing their own businesses have a strong desire to learn as much as possible from the sales book they are reading, for example. For the same reason, a biologist might pay closer attention to Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species than the average reader.

As a matter of fact, not all books are practical, how-to guides that you can immediately implement. Wisdom can be found in a variety of books. However, I do find that I remember novels that are relevant to my daily life better than those that aren’t.

Make Your Notes Searchable
Keep track of what you read by taking notes. This is all up to you. Neither a large scale production nor a complex system is required. Do something to draw attention to the most crucial points and paragraphs.

My approach varies according to the format I’m using. Reading on Kindle allows me to highlight specific passages. As I listen to audiobooks, I jot down quotes that catch my eye. When I’m reading a print book, I take notes by highlighting and highlighting pages.

The actual secret, though, is to keep all of your notes in a manner that can be easily searched.

You don’t have to rely only on your recollection when it comes to reading comprehension. Evernote is where I keep all of my notes. In comparison to other note-taking apps, I prefer Evernote because it is easy to use across numerous devices, searchable instantaneously, and allows you to make and save notes even if you are not online.

I use three methods to transfer my notes to Evernote:

Audiobooks: In the case of audiobooks, I create a new Evernote file for each book and then type my notes into that file as I’m listening.

Ebook: When reading an ebook, I use an application called Clippings to import all of the highlights from my Kindle Paperwhite right into Evernote. In order to upload it to my page of book summaries, I write a synopsis and any other opinions I have about it.

Print: I type my notes as I read, which is similar to how I listen to books on tape. When transcribing a lengthier piece, I use a book stand to keep the book steady as I type. Although typing notes while reading print books can be a nuisance, this is the greatest option I’ve come across so far.)

Of course, you don’t have to use a computer to be able to search through your notes. Use Post-It Notes to label pages for future reference, for example. Alternatively, Ryan Holiday recommends putting each note on an index card and categorizing them according to the subject or book.

As with the previous approach, keeping searchable notes is critical for quickly re-entering previously-considered concepts. A good idea is only beneficial if it can be found at the right time.

The fourth step is to merge Knowledge Trees.
Knowledge trees are sometimes depicted as having the trunk made up of some fundamental notions and the branches being made up of more specific information. By “linking branches” and combining your current book with other knowledge trees, you can learn more and increase your reading comprehension.

For instance, you could say:

  • Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran’s The Tell-Tale Brain piqued my interest because of a connection he made with social work researcher Brené Brown’s earlier work, which I had read about in a different context.
  • According to Paul Graham’s essay on minimizing your identity, Mark Manson’s concept of “killing yourself” is similar to Paul Graham’s idea of “keeping your identity small.”.
  • Even though this book was mostly focused on the process of becoming better, Mastery by George Leonard revealed a correlation between heredity and performance.

I jotted down each piece of wisdom in my book notes.

These “hooks” help you remember what you read because they connect new material to concepts and ideas that you already know about. In the words of Charlie Munger, “If you get into the mental habit of relating what you’re reading to the basic structure of the underlying ideas being demonstrated, you gradually accumulate some wisdom.”

Take note of any ideas or connections that occur to you as a result of what you’ve read. Don’t let them pass you by. Discuss what you’ve learnt and how it links to other concepts.

Write a Brief Synopsis of Your Findings
After I complete a book, I set a goal for myself to sum it all up in three phrases or less. I know this is only a game, but it forces me to think about what truly mattered in the book….

When writing a book summary, I think about things like:

  • What are the main points?
  • Which of the ideas in this book would I put into practice right away if I could?
  • What would I say to a friend about the book?

I’ve found that, in many circumstances, skimming my one-paragraph summary and going over my notes is just as effective as re-reading the full book.

Consider employing the Feynman Method if you can’t fit the entire book into three sentences.

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman is the inspiration behind the Feynman Technique, a note-taking method. It’s an easy matter: Using a blank sheet of paper, write the name of the book at the top and then describe the book to someone who has never heard of it.

If you get stuck or realize that you don’t understand something, go back over your notes or the text and attempt it again. When you have a good grasp of the main points and are confident in your explanation, keep writing it down.

I’ve discovered that writing about a notion as if I were teaching it to a novice is the best way for me to discover any holes in my thinking. “I find the best way to figure out what I’ve learned from a book is to write something about it.” says financial analyst Ben Carlson.

Surround the Topic
“Beware the man of a single book” by Thomas Aquinas frequently enters my mind.

How sound are your beliefs if you only study one book on a subject and use that as the basis for a whole category of life? How well-versed are you in the subject matter?

To read a book is a commitment, yet it is all too common for people to base their entire belief system on a single book or article. In the case of basing our opinions solely on our own personal experiences, this is much more true (and more difficult to overcome). “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. We’re all biased to our own personal history.” as Morgan Housel remarked. ” In our minds, we’re all influenced by our own particular experiences.”

Reading a wide range of books on the same subject is one strategy to tackle this issue. Try to look at the same issue from the perspective of many authors and try to go beyond your own personal experience.

Re-Read It
Finally, I’d like to bring up a topic I brought up earlier: reading outstanding books twice. As Karl Popper put it: “Anything worth reading is not only worth reading twice, but worth reading again and again. If a book is worthwhile, then you will always be able to make new discoveries in it and find things in it that you didn’t notice before, even though you have read it many times.”

Reading wonderful books again and again is also beneficial because the issues you face vary with time. If you read a book more than once, you may pick up on new concepts and sections that slipped your mind the first time around. Depending on where you are in your life, different lines will jump out at you.

You read the same book over and over again, but you never read it in the same way each time you do. It’s Charles Chu, who said, “I always return home to the same few authors. And, no matter how many times I return, I always find they have something new to say.”

Even if you don’t receive anything new out of each reading, revisiting excellent literature is still worthwhile because concepts need to be repeated in order to be remembered. “When we only learn something once, we don’t really learn it—at least not well enough for it to change us much. It may inspire momentarily, but then becomes quickly overrun by the decades of habits and conditioning that preceded it.”  Great ideas stick in your mind when you revisit them.

“A good book gets better the second time you read it,” says Nassim Taleb. I couldn’t put it down. “A good book gets better at the second reading. A great book at the third. Any book not worth rereading isn’t worth reading.”