I do a lot of reading … in fact, I do so much reading that I really wish that I were paid to do the research I undertake because I would earn quite a tidy sum. Fortunately I thoroughly enjoy reading but, like many others I encounter the problem of remembering everything and being able to gain immediate access to a particular point or quote.
That was my problem, until I started using Mindjet’s MindManager 7.0 Pro (free 21 day trial available) and then read Jamie Nast’s Book “Idea Mapping” which gave me the two skills I needed to combine with my Microsoft Office skills … all 3 parts came together and I have now transformed how I read / record / retrieve the knowledge from those books.
When I have a new book to read I start by creating a map (an Information Map), with the Central Theme as the Book’s title, including a photo of the jacket cover, with a link to a website about the book/author.
Each Chapter of the book becomes a main branch of the Information Map and I use colour and imagery (this knowledge came from Jamie Nast’s book, which I highly recommend) to bring to life the main emphasis of that Chapter and any sub-topics. I learnt from Jamie that to be child-like is not childish and therefore I now use images and colour to aid my memory recall.
This takes concentration because you need to :
a) read the words
b) assimilate the knowledge
c) summarise that knowledge
d) capture “author’s quotes” (perhaps using the notes area)
e) pause and reflect on the summarised knowledge
(is it a good enough summary to revise from or has something been missed out?)
If necessary repeat items a-e, until it is as good as it needs to be
f) find images and colours to bring it to life to aid with future memory recall
g) Integrate with Microsoft Office Outlook to create Tasks of action points arising
Although this requires concentration I have found that it is saving me considerable time . True, it takes slightly longer to get through the book in the first place because of items c-g above, however, I am saving myself all that unnecessary (and frankly ridiculous) re-reading to find a suitable quote; re-reading to remember what was in the book; re-reading to prepare for revision prior to an Exam; searching for and trying to interpret the scribbled notes I had written!
I used to re-read certain books several times if I was preparing for an Exam. Now I know that I can use the above method to read a book just ONCE, provided that I concentrate and do items c-g whilst reading.
For anyone who needs to read and remember large amounts of information whether for academic or business purposes, I would recommend this approach.
Below is my first attempt at this process which I developed whilst reading Jamie Nast’s book … whenever I want to recall the key points, I simply open the map and my eyes are drawn to the various images and colours … I can also filter certain topics so that I can concentrate my revision efforts on exactly what I want to review … one page containing everything I read … immediately accessible.