Can you remember any of the key insights from the last book you read?
Are you using any of the concepts you learned in your day-to-day life?
If not, then it’s likely that you’re not reading effectively which is affecting your ability to retain the information.
Listening to audiobooks and reading kindle ebooks is great, but there’s not much point in reading if you’re not absorbing the information and applying the concepts.
I used to be a passive reader. I’d just listen to audiobooks and read ebooks while I was in the car or in bed before sleeping. This can give a good feeling that you accomplished something, but if you’re not really using the information, then why even bother reading in the first place?
In this post, I’m going to share 10 tips on how to read a book effectively so that you can become an ultralearner and get the most out of your readings.
1. Highlight and take notes
Highlighting and taking notes seems like a no-brainer. If you read a book passively without highlighting and taking notes, then it’s unlikely that you’re going to retain much of the information that you’re reading. But it’s puzzling how many people still don’t do this effectively.
As you read, take notes and highlight key points. This will help with retention.
What to highlight:
- key insights
Kindle and other ebook readers allow you to highlight and add notes which you can revisit later. You can review these highlights and notes regularly to help you re-enforce the concepts learned in the book.
2. Listen to podcast interviews
When an author launches a new book, they’ll usually get invited podcasts to let people know about it.
Listening to podcasts about the book can be a great way to get a deeper understanding of the concepts in the book. Although it’s not a supplement for actually reading the book, you’ll still get some key insights from the author. Usually the interviewer will ask questions that no one else has asked, and you’ll get a different perspective on the concepts in the book.
3. Pre-order book to get bonuses
To attract more book sales, reviews and gain traction, authors will usually provide bonuses if you pre-order the book in advance. You’ll usually get some key bonuses like a PDF version of the book, audiobook, Q &A call, free livestream workshop, and other great resources.
For example, Ryan Holiday recently provided a Spotify playlist and 2 extra chapters with if you pre-ordered the book before October 1.
Marie Forleo included a 5-day workshop if you pre-ordered her book “Everything is Figureoutable”.
Gabby Bernstein included a free 2-hour manifestation livestream workshop if you pre-ordered the book “Super Attractor”.
By getting on the authors email list, you’ll get early access to these bonuses if you pre-order the book within a certain period.
4. Follow the author on social media
If there’s a book I’m reading, I’ll usually follow the author on social media channels like Instagram and Facebook.
They’ll usually share their thoughts and insights that are exclusive to that particular channel. It’s also a great way to connect with the author by leaving comments.
Also, if they have a Youtube channel, then you’ll be able to watch videos where they share some of the key strategies in the book for free. It’s another great way to really deepen your understanding.
5. Read notes at the end of the book
Most books have notes at the end of the book. If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts in the book, then visit the notes section and read some of the resources (books, articles, videos, etc.) The notes provide the original source where the other got their thoughts from, so you’re more likely to understand the concept if you read some of the studies and articles that the author did to write the book.
6. Use the extra resources
What good is a book if you’re not actually using the concepts in the book in your life? Make a list of the key concepts, techniques and strategies, and start implementing them whenever possible. This will help you embody the information so that it’s second nature.
Most authors also include extra resources/bonuses to help complement the book.
For example, Pat Flynn’s new book “Superfans” includes a complementary course that help you get a deeper understanding of the concepts in the book.
In Meera Kothand’s book “The Profitable Content System“, she provides a 16-page Playbook which you can use to do the content marketing exercises.
Nir Eyal included a companion workbook, distraction tracker, computer sign, wallpapers, weekly schedule template, discussion guide and online course to go along with his book “Indistractable“.
By making use of the resources in the book, you’ll be better able to implement the ideas and concepts in the book.
7. Teach the principles
You’ve probably heard many times that if you teach others what you just learned, you’re more likely to understand it at a deeper level.
If you just learned something, tell a friend or family member about it. It might spark an interesting conversation that you wouldn’t have otherwize had with them.
You can also blog about it or create a video. This can not only help you learn, but you’ll have more content to create for your blog and Youtube channel.
8. Use a mind map to reinforce the main concepts
Mind maps are a visual representations of your thoughts. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you’re able to visualize the concepts in the book, then it’ll be easier to internalize.
I use Xmind to create mind maps. Whether I’m writing or reading a book, I’m able to create visual trees that help me retain the knowledge.
9. Read the same book more than once
If you read a book more than once, then you’re going to pick up different things each time you read it.
If you read a book 10 years ago, then you’re most likely going to interpret it differently if you read it now. That’s why it’s always good to revisit books every so often — yearly, or every few years, just to see how it applies to your life now.
10. Get involved in a community
Another way to get the most out of your reading is to join a Facebook group created by the author.
I’m also part of leaderbooks by Michael Hyatt where there’s a community, activation guides, and videos to reinforce the learning. By actively reading and engaging with the community that’s also reading the same book, you’re going to learn a lot more than if you read it by yourself.
By taking a holistic and active approach to reading you’ll not only be able to remember what you read, but you’ll be better able to apply the concepts and insights learned in the book.
You don’t have to use all 10 tips, but I recommend trying out a few of them to see if it helps you get the most out of your readings.