How to Read Multiple Books Simultaneously and Remember (Almost) Everything

How to Read Multiple Books Simultaneously and Remember (Almost) Everything

A few months back, while trying to recall some information, I came to realise that I often only remember a hazy outline of the books I read. This really bothered me – as trivial as it may seem, I couldn’t accept that after investing countless hours reading, I could only remember an outline of a book and little detail.

I wanted to do something about it. There had to be a way to remember more – there just had to be.

Naturally, I dived in and started reading all I could about memory – soaking up information from books and articles, but I didn’t stop there, no – I started experiementing.

Below is the simple three step system I use for reading for maximum retention. I don’t claim to have crafted anything revolutionary, but what I have done is pull exsisting ideas together to solve a specific problem: How to read mulltiple books simulateneously and rememeber (almost) everything. Definitly something worth sharing.

Why read multiple books simultaneously?

As strage as it may sound, I don’t read one book at a time, and I can’t imagine doing so. As a curious lover of knowledge I find myself jumping around from book to book, wanting to learn everything about everything, so I sought out to optimise my approach to reading. You may not want to read ten books simulateneousl – that’s ok. This simple method can still help you remember more of what you read.

The three steps are:

1. Read one chapter at a time

2. Makes notes as you read

3. Review notes before and after reading

As you can see, this it’s really simple. You’re probably thinking too simple, but that’s what we need: simplicity. When I read, I want to focus on reading – I don’t want a system or method getting in the way.

Let’s take a look at why this system actually works.


Information is best retained when broken into small ‘chunks’ a classic everyday example is in the way we read and recite telephone numbers.

0207 123 1231 vs 02071231231

Was it easier to remember the first string of numbers? I’m certain you’ll say yes. However, a better question is: why are a string of numbers broken into chunks easier to rememeber? Becaues the brain is able to focus more intensly when it has less to deal with. This isn’t rocket science – you probably could have told me this. However, is this piece of knowledge you apply? Information is useless without application.

The first step in my method is to read one chapter at a time. The idea is to constrain information so the brain is given a better oppourtunity to focus.

For a while, chunking seemed only useful for improving short term memory, that is until I read Moonwaling with Einstein. This book showed me how poweful chunking can be for long-term memory when combined with Mnemonics.

While I don’t feel Mnemonics is a practical solution for rememebering details from a book – It did have me wondering what else I could combine chunking with to maximise how much I remember from reading.

That’s when I re-discovered the forgetting curve. Aha!

The forgetting curve

The forgetting curve was first discovered by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. Through a series of experiments, he discovered when newly aquired information begins to deteriorate, and that by reviewing information at these points improves retention drastically. This was a great discovery.

The forgetting curve is what powers great programs like Anki and SuperMemo.

ow is this helpful to us when reading? The second and third steps in this reading system involve the taking and reviewing of notes.

Reviewing all notes before reading each chapter will do two things: keep the information fresh in your brain and cement it further into your mind.

I often feel as though I’ve read a book many times by the time I read the last page.

In my case, reviewing notes takes a maximum of fifteen minutes, a small price to pay for an incredible increased rate of recall.

The quality of notes used for reviewing chapters will hugely impact the effectivness of this technique, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss that article.

The system is really simple:

1. Read one chapter at a time

2. Makes notes as you read

3. Review notes before and after reading

I’m sure you won’t need to read this article again to remember.

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Thème Noodle -  Hébergé par Overblog