How I read

Over the last several years I’ve dramatically increased the amount that I read, culminating in my biggest year ever in 2018 when I read 52 books. I’m struggling this year to get anywhere close to that, mainly because I have another goal for 2019 that is in direct conflict.

But, I’m still trying to read a lot of books this year. And I get asked quite a bit from friends how I manage to find the time to read, which I wrote about in my post, How to read 52 books in a year.

What I wanted to share in this post is how I read a book. And more importantly, how I remember what I read.

Note: This really only pertains to non-fiction books, which is the majority of what I read at the moment.

If I’m reading a physical book (probably 10% of the books I read are physical,) I will highlight the passage I like while reading, open the Google Keep app on my phone, and add that passage to the note for that book via voice dictation. It usually is 90% accurate, so I have to go through and edit a bit after.

If I’m reading a Kindle book (probably 40% of the books I read,) I will highlight the passage while reading. This is one of the best things about reading on a digital device. After the book is done, I can see all of the passages by doing this.

If I’m listening to a book via Audible (probably 50% of the books I ‘read’ at this point are via listening on Audible,) I will pause when I hear something interesting, hit the “rewind 30 seconds” button, and quickly fire up Google Keep to record the note.

When I finish a book – and I enjoyed it, which happens maybe 70% of the time – I will go back and read the notes from it. I move the notes from Google Keep to Evernote (I use Evernote for long-term storage and Google Keep for short-term storage,) and if I feel really motivated I’ll write a blog post with the notes (like this.)

This process – reading, recording, and reviewing – has helped me retain more of what I read. Because, I don’t know about you, but I find that my memory is getting worse by the minute. And I kinda want to retain some of the smarts I receive along the way.