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Hey everyone, I hope the start to your Thursday is treating you well!

Today, I want to talk to you about something that’s near and dear to my heart: reading.

As someone who is a lifelong learner, I’ve read several books over the years. And while I’m no expert on the topic, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that have helped me retain more of what I’ve read.

So whether you’re someone who loves to read, I hope you can utilize some of these methods that may work for you in your own endeavors. Check out my top 10 ways to retain more of every book you read:

  1. Set a goal before you start reading.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you retain more of what you read is to set a goal before you start reading. Ask yourself why you’re reading the book, what you hope to learn from it, and how you plan to apply that knowledge in your life or work.

By setting a clear goal, you’ll be more engaged with the material and more likely to remember it after you finish the book.

  1. Take notes as you go.

Another great way to retain more of what you read is to take notes as you go. Whether you’re reading a physical book or an e-book, make sure to have a notebook or note-taking app handy so you can jot down key ideas, concepts, and takeaways.

This will not only help you retain more of the material, but it will also make it easier to review and revisit the book later on.

  1. Use active reading techniques.

When you’re reading, it’s important to engage with the material actively rather than passively. This means asking questions, making connections to other things you know, and summarizing the material in your own words.

By actively engaging with the material, you’ll be more likely to remember it and understand it on a deeper level.

  1. Read in short bursts.

While it may be tempting to binge-read an entire book in one sitting, it’s actually more effective to read in short bursts. Studies have shown that we’re more likely to retain information when we break up our reading into shorter sessions rather than trying to cram everything in at once.

So, try to read for 20-30 minutes at a time, take a break, and then come back to the material later.

  1. Discuss what you’ve read with others.

Another great way to retain more of what you’ve read is to discuss it with others. Whether it’s with a friend, colleague, or in a book club, talking about the material can help reinforce your understanding and help you see it from different perspectives.

Plus, hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions can help you make deeper connections to the material and remember it more easily.

  1. Visualize the material.

Visualization is a powerful tool for retaining information. When you read, try to picture the concepts, ideas, and characters in your mind’s eye. This will help you remember the material more vividly and make it easier to recall later on.

  1. Use mnemonic devices.

Mnemonic devices are memory aids that help you remember information more easily. They can be anything from acronyms to rhymes to visual cues.

For example, if you’re trying to remember a list of items, you could create an acronym using the first letter of each item. Or, if you’re trying to remember a name, you could associate it with a visual image that reminds you of the person.

  1. Apply what you’ve learned.

One of the best ways to retain what you’ve read is to apply it in your life or work. Whether it’s a new skill or a new way of thinking, try to find ways to incorporate the material into your daily routine.

This will not only help you retain the material more easily, but it will also make it more meaningful and relevant to your life, which will in turn make it more memorable.

  1. Revisit the material.

Reading a book once is rarely enough to retain everything you need to know. That’s why it’s important to revisit the material periodically.

Whether it’s skimming through your notes, rereading certain chapters, or just flipping through the book to refresh your memory, revisiting the material can help reinforce what you’ve learned and keep it top of mind.

  1. Teach someone else.

One of the most effective ways to retain what you’ve learned from my experience is to teach it to someone else. Whether it’s a friend, colleague, or even just explaining it to yourself out loud, teaching the material requires you to synthesize and articulate what you’ve learned.

This not only helps you retain the material more easily, but it also helps solidify your understanding of it and identify any gaps in your knowledge.

For me, reading has been one of the most valuable habits that I have developed as a lifelong learner.

Let me know which of the 10 tips have worked best for you through implementation as I hope that some of these cognitive retention tips can help you the way it has helped me to absorb more of what I am trying to understand when it comes to what I read and apply to my life and work as I continue to grow and develop new skills and knowledge as much as possible.

Thank you everyone and I hope you have an amazing rest of your day!
Shane Wenzel

Shane Wenzel

Shane is the President & CEO of the Shane Homes Group of Companies and the namesake. Shane's responsibilities include strategic direction for the companies, policy advice for the building industry through BILD Calgary, and political involvement through the Alberta Enterprise Group on the economy, making him an industry leader in his field. Shane's sales and marketing background comes from growing up with two entrepreneurial parents, Cal and Edith, and participating in a business advisory group. On the personal side, Shane considers himself a bit of a "tech junky" and social media influencer on various platforms. He's also proudly apart of the LGBTQ community.