“Everyone who knows how to read has it in their power to magnify themselves” (Aldous Huxley)
If you are a non-reader who doesn’t like books thinking that reading is boring, it is time for lights to come on for you. Yes, you might have tried many times before to finish a book and failed, but that is not because reading is not a suitable hobby for you. It is just because you didn’t do it correctly. Above suspicion, reading is a universal skill, and almost all people in the world know how to do it; however, although we read, we tend to miss out on many advantages. Seldom do we ever question our methods of reading, so we lose motivation and succumb to despair, believing that reading is not created for all people. But we beg to differ: Anyone can read and even be a book worm. After all, we never starve our bodies when the food doesn’t appeal to us. We would rather push ourselves to nourish our bodies because we know that food will help us survive. Similarly, reading is your mind’s lifeline, so if the process seems difficult to you, you need to train yourself to do it to nourish your soul. In this article, we will tell you all the steps and tricks that you need to be an avid reader and retain information to use it in real-life situations.
Scrutinize and Evaluate
Before you commit yourself to read a certain book, you have to check and recheck whether it is a good one or not. An interesting book will keep you entertained and excited to read more, so figuring out this fact will help you be on the right track. Start by checking the table of contents, headlines, and bullet points and ask yourself: What’s in it for me? Am I interested to know these facts? Do I care? It is also recommended that you read few pages from any section to see if the book seems understandable to you. If the book is not worth it, quit reading and forget about it immediately without shame since you and the book you picked aren’t a good match. The mistake we make is that we tend to generalize and stop reading entirely when a certain book appears dull to us. Therefore, learn the art of skimming through the books you consider as well as the art of quitting the wrong ones. Stay headed out in your search for good books and after some years, you might be surprised when you find yourself reverting to the book you ejected after gaining deeper knowledge. And, many readers were astonished when they experienced that change of perspective.
Note Down the Important Highlights
While you are reading, it is important to notice the most important messages that the book is saying. Highlight the key passages and quotes and try to save them in a searchable format. If you have a Kindle, this will be super easy because the Kindle saves your highlights and notes into a word file that you can use whenever you like. This will help you get the information you want by typing only one word and using the “find in page” option. If you are listening to an audiobook, consider pausing the track to type the most life-changing quotes. Even when it comes to reading a print book, the process is not that difficult as you can use a transcribing program to turn your printed highlights into a soft-copy format. Besides, you can store the notes on categorized index cards to revisit them easily.
Bring the Words to Life
One of the most effective ways to carve what you read into your mind is to apply it in real-life situations. For example, if you are embarking on a new career, you will be able to make excellent use of the business book you are reading. Even if you are reading fiction, you can still make links between the story you are reading about and the real situations you encounter on daily basis. One way to make your words relatable is to make links between your reads and your life. Talk to your friends about the novel you are reading and share the knowledge with them. Even if you can’t join a book club, consider posting the best quotes of your novel through your Facebook account or Goodreads. You can find many visual reading groups encompassing several readers who will encourage you to keep it up. Sometimes posting some memes about the books we read help us remember them the best. So, if you can poke fun with your friends at a certain book, you are more likely to retain information than others who just read and move on. Do you also know that books can be a great topic for striking conversations and improving your communication with others?
Create a Short Synopsis
Bill Gates mentioned once that what helped him the most to be a good reader is writing a summary about each book he reads. Ben Carlson also indicated that the best way to figure out what he has learned from a book is by writing about it. If you think about it, the idea will make great sense to you because when we summarize, we transform a bulky, dense book into a short story that we can grasp instantly. So, challenge yourself to make a synopsis about the book you finished in few sentences. Maybe you can share it on Goodreads to help others get a brief idea about the entire book, provided that you avoid spoilers. Returning to your summary as well as your highlights is almost equal to rereading the complete book because you will be setting your sight on the main ideas that the book tackles. Also, write your summary as if you are explaining the book to a beginner and make it as clear as possible; many years later, you will thank yourself for it.
Beware Single Books
Thomas Aquinas once said, “beware the man of a single book.” Reading one book about a certain topic and deeming it the only truth and nothing but the truth is sheer foolhardiness as it will impede your mental growth. One of the best ways to really improve your knowledge is by reading different viewpoints about the same topic. Reading from a variety of angles and through the eyes of multiple authors can be transformative. Your mind will start exerting effort to compare and judge, and you will no longer be a passive recipient. This will help you recall the information you read after prolonged times. Don’t be biased to the version of the story you wish to be true and judge for yourself. That is why it is recommended that you have an idea about what critics say about the book you are reading. You might even find other books and articles that were written to defy all the arguments of the book you are reading; consider reading any of these books and articles after finishing your book.