On Forgetting Books

There’s a common wisdom that partners only do their best until they get married. This might be true or not but I’ve noticed similar things in various areas – diets, sport, alcohol consumption. An injury, a stressful situation, or just a long series of small transgressions and we are back to our worse selves but less hopeful. I think some of that is happening to my efforts to learn about Psychology and Marketing.

Yesterday I finished a book, called “To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink. It covered areas of which I expected to be knowledgeable – engaging in conversations, noticing communication failures, active listening. The book is citing many others I’ve already read and even a research I’ve been aware of. Many takeaways, however, felt new. I checked my notes from “Verbal Judo” and “Crucial Conversations”. It was eye-opening. It felt like I forgot much of the content without ever using it. Then I checked a couple of other related books I read 2-3 years ago – I had no notes whatsoever.

Dale Carnegie suggested somewhere [citation needed] that his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” needs to be re-read, and I think also in another book suggested a slow pace of reading (no more than 1 chapter per day). All of that is so that the information sticks. The goal of reading non-fiction, after all, is not filling my home with books but learning skills and becoming a better human. Re-reading sounds a bit too much for me but read and forget is not a good strategy either (well, maybe it is, for “A Song of Fire and Ice”).

Here is what I plan to do:

– Write notes and keep highlights when I read non-fiction and self-help
– Write resumes with key takeaways so that I can go back and remind myself what was it all about when I need it.

I hope this makes my new year in reading more productive.


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