I read and read…
I read fiction to partake in intoxicating journeys with the protagonists and the author.
I read non-fiction to learn something new. I read to constantly update my knowledge, absorb new ideas, and improve my skills.
At the end of some books I feel meh, but the ideas of a few I would like to carry with me.
But after each read I find myself questioning my brain, and challenging it to recollect all that I just read.
Usually, I remember the central idea, but not the details.
And I find the recollection dwindling with passing time.
Does it ever happen to you?
I found a way to increase my recall of ideas I come across, books I read, and basically anything complex I might need to refer to in the future.
The Simple 5-Step Process for maximum recall
- What is the Central Idea? Why is it important to you?
- What are the components of this Central Idea?
- What does each component mean?
- Why is each component important?
- How does each component work?
If you read the above steps, you would notice that it is just a series of Why, What, and Hows! It is that simple!
But you would find that these 5 steps would encapsulate the majority of what you would want to understand, learn and recall from any book/idea/concept!
Let me put this in action for you and show you how it works.
I came across this brilliant book by Oren Klaff — Flip The Script. The book is considered a masterpiece in Sales. In the book, Oren shares with his readers, his master techniques of how he sells even the seemingly impossible ideas, companies, and what not to seemingly uninterested buyers.
I am not in sales, but everyone at one time or another needs to pitch! Be it your ideas, or sometimes yourself. I digress though!
I will use the framework I highlight above to extract the ideas of the book.
What is the Central Idea?
The central idea put forth in this book is — Selling is Inception!
What are the components of this Central Idea?
Mr. Klaff goes ahead in his narrative to quote a series of steps of how Inception could be achieved.i.e. How to make the pitch seem to originate less from you and seem more like the idea of the listener/buyer.
What does each component mean?
Elaborating the components further, we dive deeper into what each component means!
Why is each component important? How does each component work?
Here I have combined two steps into one just because it made sense for me and on this book, but taking these two separate works as well or better.
I know the content is not very readable here, but I promise zooming in would be extremely rewarding! :)
I would like to share certain insights that would help you in the process:
- If you note, each representation/picture of the book in itself suffices in talking about the central idea. The way to read it is you refer to exactly what you need. If you need to recall the concept/idea refer to the first image. If you remember the concept but forget a “How” you refer to the last!
Every Concept can be a Flip Book that takes you on a journey!
- I have heavily used abstraction in the process. Begining from a high level/bird’s eye view of the idea/book/concept, I move towards detailing it further.
Read many times to abstract out the different level of information
- It doesn't end here, does it? To gain expertise in anything, you need practice. My method just gives you a tool to document it. It's on us to practice, refer to what we forget, and keep practicing till the skill is mastered. Although….
Practice is easier when you remember what you need to practice
To be honest I have forgotten a lot of books I have read. That’s time down the drain where I gained knowledge and let it go.
I tried writing summaries of books I have read. But the thought of reading a ten pager in sequence seems daunting, especially there occurs a situation where it is needed.
Visual Summaries is where I finally landed, and I am glad I did! :)