Monthly Archives: September 2015

Reading and taking it in

A bit away from my cleaning articles, thought I would write about reading, another of my passions.

reading and taking it in

Reading a very nice book could be a rewarding experience, and also it could be very frustrating when the info just passes through your head and not staying in your memory. Well Lucky for you, there are some methods that could make a huge difference in retention of information. Stack Exchange bookworms  provide a few tips in helping your game.
I love reading non-fiction novels on different topics that I find interest in, but also I discover that the information never really sticks.
For instance, I read Thomas Jefferson’s biography 1 year ago and I cannot remember anything about the biography, except for the fact that 1743 is his birth date. Whenever I listen/see authors who are my role models such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, and they are very much able to routinely quote from lots of books. I have even witnessed Hitchens cite a book, thus giving the books page number also, from memory.
I really want to store info like these guys, if it is possible, without going through a book more than once. Which method(s) can I take to make sure I receive the most possible information from books when I go through them?
3-Step Program
Memory is developed on these 3 components:

  1. Repetition
  2. Association
  3. Impression

One of these 3 components is enough to memorize anything at all. However, Combining the 3 components will be the most secure way in not forgetting things. Allow me to illustrate each of the components:

If you’ve read a book many times you are likely to not forget details about it. . Same goes for a recipe, the lyrics of a song, a route between 2 locations, phone numbers, anything . The more repetition that you do, the more you are likely to remember. When reading books, if you don’t want to read it many times, you could highlight some parts that you would like to remember, and read only those highlighted parts several times. You are likely to remember these segments and you are going to discover that it will assist you in remembering the rest of the book.
You can impress yourself with mental images, make associations with the information that you already have (and ensure that you learn the basics), and repeat it many times. You have to work on how to become better at not forgetting things and you will be better at remembering all you want.

If you can also link something you have read to any other thing you already know, the chance of not forgetting it becomes more stronger—most times incredibly strong. For instance, if you and Thomas Jefferson was born the same day, you will find it a lot easier to not forget it because you have linked the info that you read to an info that you know already and will never forget. It’s like tying something fresh (Jefferson’s birthday ,the data you read) to a tree (an information that you know, your birthday). This means that for you to learn more about the topic, you just have to know more about it.

If you are knowledgeable on 1 topic (such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens on literature), it will become very simple to make strong links—you have many trees and many ropes. So all you have to do is learn the basics and the context of the book and you won’t forget.

If you are impressed by something (such as a picture, an idea, a text, a sound, a face and a situation), there is the probability that you might remember. For instance, if as a kid, you are left alone, lost inside a mall for a period of time, you are likely to remember all that happened accurately. It is the same with your books: if you’re impressed Thomas Jefferson did it in his life, the possibility that you will not forget this aspect becomes a bit higher. The good thing about it is that you could increase the power of this impression by yourself while reading.

For instance, you can pause reading for a second and visualize the situation in your mind, exaggerating most features of the situation just to enhance the impression of the mental image you have created, by adding greatness, violence, or anything just to shock yourself. You can also include yourself in your mental image, imagining Mr Thomas Jefferson really thanking you for your assistance or him kicking your small butt or just anything that brings good memories. This is going to make the impression last.

And also, you may need to enhance the impression of a text message by reading it aloud—even louder if your neighbors don’t have a problem with it . Most individuals are more sensitive to impressions derived from sounds (voice) than the one that came from viewing things (written text).