What is with the dancing I’m doing at the moment? It’s a little bit weird. Do you like my new earrings? I think they’re pretty. Anyway, totally not what we’re here to talk about on a Friday afternoon. Happy Friday. Yay! Today, I want to talk about a topic that’s quite dear to my heart because as you can see from my bookshelf, I love to read. And reading is one of those things that can be really addictive, and it is so good for you. Whether you’re reading vampire fiction or self-help or health books or romance novels or crime fiction, reading takes us to another place. It makes us feel more things; it makes us learn more things. It’s the best. The best.
My mother taught me from a really young age. We’re a family of avid readers, and she taught me from a very young age that if you love to read, you will never be bored. If you love to read, you’ll always have something to do. If you love to read, you’ll always be able to find an answer to something. If you love to read, you’ll always be able to use your imagination. If you love to read, there’s just unlimited possibilities for so many things in life if you nurture that habit. And it’s really important with kids and sadly a lot of kids don’t pick up those great habits. Some of them pick it up later in life, but it’s just, it’s so important.
When Elodie was little and I would read to her, she’d make me do all these funny accents, and then if I was rereading a book at some point and I did a different accent, oh my golly gosh, did I get in trouble? “That’s not the accent, Mummy.” Anyway, apart from remembering the books, I had to remember the accents I did for all the different characters. So there’s this great quote I wanted to share with you from Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says, “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I’ve eaten. Even so, they have made me.” Brilliant. Perfect. Beautiful.
So I wanted to share with you my top tips on how to remember what you read, because there’s a whole lot … You can learn how to speed read and things like that, and I’m a bit of a bit of a … say there’s a line with five or six words, I might skip a couple of those filler words as I read, but I wouldn’t call myself a speed reader as such. But over the years, I’ve gone through phases of reading books and literally five minutes later, I couldn’t have even told you it was fiction or nonfiction. I was like, in one eye, out the other. Bing, gone! But I have gotten better at remembering what I read, in particular nonfiction stuff. So I wanted to share with you what I do and how to do it better. And I just thought of one more thing, so I’m making a little note there to remind myself to say one more thing.
Okay, so there’s different types of readers, for starters; there’s active readers and there’s passive readers. Just like you can take active action and passive action … I don’t know. Sounds random, I know, but trust me. Active readers are the readers that do take the action to actually remember what they’re reading. Passive readers are just doing it as like a time filler kind of thing. They just read it and, as I said before, in one eye out the other, gone; very little retention of what they’re actually reading. Sometimes you want to be a passive reader. Say you’re lying on a beach with a margarita, you might not want to be an active reader. You might want to just passively soak it up and let it all go as you jump into the surf. And that’s okay. But if you want to be an active reader, these are my top 10 tips on how to remember what you’re reading.
For starters, know your why. If you’ve picked up a book, for example on … let me just pick a book here, Butterfly on a Pin. Okay? It’s the Alannah Hill biography. So why do I want to read that? Well, I want to hear about her life. I want to hear about how she grew her business. I want to hear about how it went a bit pear shaped when she sold it. I want to hear about how she managed to be a fiercely feminine woman in the world of fashion. I’ve just randomly picked a couple there, but knowing your why as to why you pick up a book is the first tip for how to remember the book better. Okay? First tip.
Second one. As you’re reading … I should actually have had a book with me show you what I do. Oh well, next time. Pause after each paragraph. So, after each paragraph, instead of going … have a little bit of a pause, think about what you just read. If you need to ask yourself a question about it, or if you need to take a note about it, have that little pause before you move on to the next thing. Obviously, if it’s two paragraphs or three paragraphs which are really in sync and all of those paragraphs together form something, make it a couple of paragraphs. Okay?
Tip number three is highlight. As you’re reading, highlight. I know we got told as kids not to draw in books, but if you own the books or if you’re using a Kindle, use the highlighter or trusty old highlighter. I actually, when I’m reading something … Where’s my pencil case? … with lots of and things in it, I actually have a pencil case with lots of different colors in it that I will go through and do things on because color’s good. Can you tell I like color? Funny that.
Tip number four is preread or skim the book. What do I mean by that? So I want you to read the introduction. I want you to read the chapter notes, and if you want to have a bit of a Google, I do this sometimes; it’s like not necessarily the CliffsNotes, but online these days, there’s some really good tools for snippets of books or summaries of books. There’s Blinkist; there’s all sorts of things. So I have a read of the cheat sheet of the book, and just by picking up those few things, when you go into read all of it, you kind of have a head start. So prereading and skimming is a really good idea.
Number five. My tip, if you’re into it, again this is one of those things I’m trying, not so good at it, is create a mind map. Either as you go or at the end of the book, but create a mind map on the book. It can be really, really powerful if that’s how your mind works. Okay?
Number six. You know how I said pause after each paragraph? I want you to pause after each chapter and do the same thing. Think about it. Question what you’ve read. If there’s any exercises they want you to do, do the exercises. Then don’t say, “I’ll do all the exercises when I get to the end of the book,” because you and I both know you won’t. You never do. Do the exercises then and there. Okay? And take notes end of every chapter; got to do it.
Number seven, think in pictures. So if something’s happening in the book, and say it’s a financial money saving thing … random … come up with a picture of how that works in your life. Okay? Come up with a picture of how that works just in general. Come up with a picture of it working for somebody else, but create that visual kind of aspect will help a message sink in.
Number eight is link it. Okay? So you want to link a thought to something you already know, something you already do, maybe a memory you’ve got. But it’s like word association. You know those tricks or those pictures where they go fish … tuna. You know, like a word and the first word that comes to mind. You want to link things you read to stuff so it automatically pops up in your mind for you to do it.
Tip number nine is to stay focused on the book. So set yourself time … Especially again, I’m really in general talking about nonfiction here. Make sure you’re reading at a time where your brain is at optimal functionality. So for me, that’s the morning. Morning is my best time to read nonfiction stuff. So you want to stay focused. You want to be in a space where you’re not going to be disturbed, or you want to be in a space that invigorates you, like reading by the water or the beach or in a park. Okay? You also want to not read when you’re tired. Don’t read when you’re tired. Don’t try and read when you’re busy. Don’t try and read when your phone’s not on Do Not Disturb and there’s 500 calendar notifications. Okay? You need that space, bit like meditation; you need like a reading blanket to come down on your head so you can do it without drama. Okay?
My number 10 tip for remembering what you read is teach it. Yes. Now that doesn’t mean you have to become a speaker and teach people about the 10 books you’ve just read. It doesn’t mean you have to do 365 days of Facebook Lives teaching people what things that you’ve read. It may mean you just have a conversation with someone and you tell them a little bit about it. Or you teach them one itty bitty little thing that you learned that you think might be beneficial to them. But the act of teaching someone, or many people, something that you learned … You may even want to write it down, like blog about it; that’s another way of teaching. But doing that will cement the book into your mind so much better. Okay?
And my bonus tip, yeah, tip number 11 because I think you need it. Not you in particular, everybody needs this one, is read it again. Yes. Repetition. As a singer, when I’m learning a song, sing it over and over and over again. Go through the lines over and over. Go through the notes over and over. When I’m doing a keynote, over and over and over again. When am I going to get them to clap their hands? When am I going to get interaction? What side of the stage am I? Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition. Who’s doing the push-up challenge? Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition. Repetition works. So if you want to remember a book better, read it again or listen to it. Okay? And then that information will come into you in another way. So there’s many people that have a paperback or a hardback book, then they’ve got the same one on Kindle and the same one on Audible, and it’s the different modalities that helps it sink in. Okay? Really, really, really important.
So there you go. They are my 10 tips for remembering what you read. So go read something exciting on the weekend. You know what they say? The world’s most extraordinarily successful people are readers and they are active readers, not passive readers. So have a great night and I’ll see you all tomorrow. Bye.