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Here's a learning tactic ... 

It's what I do when I want to internalize a book — or an article, for that matter. You can do it, too. 

It's extra effort, but it'll help you remember what you read better and longer, maybe even forever.

If you're reading several books at once, this tactic will make it easier to organize and digest all that information. If you're reading a long, dense book, this will help you remember the important parts. 

If you're reading a boring book, this'll keep you focused ... 

It's a tactic I used in college. 

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I was an English major, often assigned to read several books at once. 

Back then, I read with a highlighter in hand. (Today, I use the "highlight" function in iBooks.) 

When I came across something important or thought-provoking — a valuable fact or profound turn of phrase — I'd mark it in florescent yellow. 

Later, I'd go back and transcribe my highlights onto the "A" side of a flashcard. On the "B" side, I'd lend context to the passage by writing a question or citing a theme. 

Let's take an example from Seth Godin's book, All Marketers (Are Liars) Tell Stories:


"A" side [passage]: "Marketers tell the stories, and consumers believe them. Sometimes the stories help people get more done, enjoy life more and even live longer. Other times, when the story isn't authentic, it can have significant side effects and consumers pay the price."
"B" side [context]: "What are the consequences of storytelling?" or, simply, "Stories"

By the end of the book, my effort produced what I called a Summary Deck, a rundown of the book's most valuable information, organized for my review when and where I needed it. 

Studying my decks was easier than going back through the chapters. It was also very effective at helping me remember the gist of everything I read, internalizing it.

I'll remember some of those cards for the rest of my life.

Studies prove that flashcards work, mainly because they promote Confidence-Based Repetition and Active Recall. That is, flashcards strengthen neural connections in the brain, which, over time, create permanent memories. 

My advice:

Reading a book takes time, effort. It's an investment in your future.

Summary Decks will maximize your reading ROI.


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