How To Read A Book Once & Never Have To Read It Again Ever

Summary – The 10 Points Everytime Technique

This Is Me A Few Years Ago

My name is Banji and I am an information addict. (This is the part where you say – “Hi Banji!”)

I used to read every words in the book and tried to get as much wisdom from it as possible. I would then take notes and sometime try my best to memorize what I just read.

In the past, I even took note from watching the Discovery Channel so I can quote them later.

Why Doing Everything Twice Can Be A Problem

Clearly this is NOT the way to go. If I continue taking note from the books I read, I will spend half of my life rewriting all the books I read. It is very likely that I will never even read the notes. It’s just like buying a DVD with the intention of rewatching it when you have free time, in the end, the DVD is just collecting dust somewhere in your room.

In short, some people (myself included) really like to do everything twice or thrice. If we read a book, we will reread it a couple more time to make sure we don’t miss anything. If we like a movie, we will rewatch it again and again just to enjoy it. However this is not a very productive habit.

You may now ask “So what’s the problem?”.

If you think about it, there shouldn’t be any problem. You will be able to memorize a whole novel or an encyclopaedia (Who reads encyclopaedia anyway?) or you will be able to enjoy your favorite movies instead of all the rubbish on other channels,

The truth is, you are actually depleting your most valuable resource pointlessly – Time.

An average human is estimated to live up to 70 years. Just imagine spending 70 years rereading the same 10 books or watching the same 10 movies Don’t you think it is a waste of your time? In that 70 years you should be able to finish at least 1200 books (if you read 2 books monthly since age 20).

Why can’t we do everything just one time and still get the benefit of people redoing it a thousand times?

The following tips may help you to do just that.

1) Remember the 10

When you read a book, make it a point to list down 10 lessons you can extract from it. For example, if you read this article, just try to remember the 3 points listed here. After you finish reading it, repeat that 3 points in your mind and you don’t need to reread this article ever again.

Of course if you are reading a motivational book, try to memorize 10 points from what you have just read. If you found your 10 points but you are still on page 20, stop reading for the day. Continue reading tomorrow for another 10 points.

Another example is when you are reading a novel. Try to visualize all the key events in the story. Once you reached that 10 points, you can stop reading for the day. Repeat the story in your mind based on the 10 key events and continue reading the novel tomorrow.

You get the picture.

2) Forbid yourself from redoing what’s done

This is usually the hardest part. It’s very hard to keep your hand off from rereading what you have read yesterday. Just remember that you don’t have the time to redo everything in your life. Be slightly firm with this.

Even if you forget the story or the 10 points from yesterday, just continue reading. Believe me, the memory will resurface and when it does, it will be even harder to forget it later.

3) Have faith in your mind

Do you know that our brain is one of the most amazing things in the world. Studies have been done on the mind for thousands of years and we still barely scratch the surface of its true potential.

There’s a case featured on Discovery Channel not long ago about a woman who fall down a cliff and broke her knee. She was alone in the forest and she should not be able to survive without any help. Somehow, her subconcious mind realized that if she was in pain, there’s no way she would be able to get help, so the brain had stopped the pain neural system from sending pain messages to the brain. She didn’t feel any pain at all. In the end, she manage to walk for miles and get help even with her broken knee. Amazing!

I’m sorry I can’t put a reference link to the story, but it really is a true story.

In short, what ever you want, your mind will make it happen. Never underestimate what it capable of doing. Once you have memorize the 10 points, it will be stored permanently in your brain. Believe in this. You just need to know how to retrieve it effectively. I will elaborate on this in the future.

– I wonder –
How many of us reread a book more than twice?

———— Personal Note ————
I have in my collection about 100 VCDs and DVDs of movies. My real intention when I first bought them is to rewatch the movies whenever I have nothing to do. It has been a few years after I bought my first VCD – “Hollow Man”, and I can safely say that I rewatch only about 1% of them.

When I think about it, I have bought a lot of things based on the intention to reuse it over and over but I usually will only use it once.

Photo Credit – Demi Brooke

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This post has 21 comments.


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  1. 24 Feb 09 7:13 am

    kalau baca novel..laju je ingat..baca sekali pon dah boleh ingat bab ni cite pasal ape..watak utama pakai baju ape..

    tapi kalau suruh baca buku utk exam..mau kene ulang 8 kali..itu pon x sure ingat ke tak..ekekke..

  2. 24 Feb 09 7:22 pm

    Sheera – Teknik ni boleh digunapakai utk study jugak. yg penting, jangan last minute. study awal2 dan ingat 10 point yg penting. jgn proceed unless 10 point tu dah ingat betul2 :)

    Good luck!

  3. Rudolf
    24 Feb 09 11:19 pm

    Hi Banji, definitely some useful info here, thanks. :) I would recommend also other techniques to help your memory remember the most important stuff from any information source. After you finish the book for example, it is good to make a short 10 minute presentation to somebody else, this presentation should contain crucial ideas and points from the book. You can discuss this after you finish your presentation. OR just create one A4 mindmap summarizing all the stuff you want to remember…and my favourite…visualization, create situations and scenes in your head that involve facts you have just learnt.

  4. 25 Feb 09 12:12 am

    Rudolf – Thank you for the fine addition. I like the idea of giving a presentation explaining what have been read. I’m not sure where I heard this from but there’s a saying – “The best way to learn is to teach”. When we are teaching to another person, it will automatically push our mind to understand the subject a little better.

    If there’s no one to listen to the presentation, there’s always a mirror in the washroom :)

  5. 25 Feb 09 5:32 am

    I NEVER re-read books (or watch movies twice)…I absolutely can not stand to do it over.

    The way I remember what I read is by writing down the parts that stand out. I don’t necessarily write them down verbatim, but more of a summary of the concept or segment of the story. I almost never re-read the notes, so I don’t put a lot of effort into making them neat or saving them….the act of thinking that I want to remember the information and then writing down the information is enough for me to remember.

  6. 25 Feb 09 11:52 pm

    Amie – I like the idea of avoiding keeping them neatly. I suppose when we read the book with the intention of not reading it again, we will become a little more focus automatically. It’s like when we know we are eating the last ice cream on earth, we will definitely do everything we can to remember the taste.

    Thank you for sharing your experience on the matter

  7. 27 Feb 09 5:34 am

    Hi Banji) It’s really interesting to read yourblog – alot of usefull unfo) I have a few book which I reread when I want to have a break, I know them by heart already) Using your technique I’m going to read more! I have a library and some books I haven’t read yet. And by the way, writing the review will help to consentate on the main points of the book or whatever, during the arragment of composotion alot of different ditails will show up.
    Anna

  8. 27 Feb 09 11:30 am

    Anna – Thank you for reading Anna. If you know the book by heart, you must be able to flash the whole book in your head in minutes. That itself will do the trick. I actually always do this with my favorite movies. It’s as if I am rewatching the movie just before I go to bed :)

  9. 28 Feb 09 2:51 am

    The most useful point in your article for me was your personal note at the end. I often purchase a movie or book because I want to keep it for referral purposes in the future. Unfortunately, I don’t refer back to much. I’m always looking for the next new thing. This makes me think about my buying habits.

    Could it be that it’s better to rent than own?

  10. 28 Feb 09 8:49 am

    yeah,come to think of it,i do have a wide collection of dvds.but rarely watch it.but the thought of i can watch it again that keeps me buying more.

    good points there!!

  11. 01 Mar 09 6:44 pm

    Tim – I am beginning to see that renting maybe the way to go. Yes, finally we will own the thing but we must take into account the space it is taking in our home.

    TipsGoda – Hm maybe we can swap DVDs :)

    However, it has been quite a while since I bought one. So technically all my DVDs are now a classic.

  12. 02 Mar 09 9:35 am

    hehe.no problem bro..what kind of movies are you into?

  13. 06 Mar 09 3:27 am

    Great post Banji, I always take notes when reading a book so I can get the main benefits from it (I tend to read informational content).

    Stumbled!

    Cheers,
    Glen

  14. 12 Mar 09 7:07 am

    TipsGoda – My preference in movie is quite simple, anything that you cannot see on real life such as people with superpower, magics etc :)

    Come to think about it, that will cover about 90% of all the movie ever made. sigh

    Glen Allsopp – Thank you for the stumble Glenn :)

    I do it too, taking notes etc. But they are slowing my reading process down. That is why I started to only take 10 points. Unfortunately for a book with so much valuable information, that will translate into 1 page per day for me.

  15. ummu alif
    30 Mar 09 2:20 pm

    for medical student…

    anatomy book need memorizing
    physiology book need understanding
    clinical book need practising
    radiology book need imaging
    there is no shortcut to become knowledgeable doctor….

  16. 31 Mar 09 12:03 am

    Ummu Alif – I would expect nothing less from a medical student. You will be handling a matter of life and death and unfortunately the rest of the world will have to demand the best from you.

    Just know that despite the trouble we are causing, we really really appreciate all the effort :)

  17. Nora
    22 Jun 09 5:23 pm

    Hi Banji…I love your blog…good info n thank you so much!!!

  18. 29 Jun 09 6:13 pm

    Nora – Thank you Nora for reading :)

  19. moses
    19 Jan 11 8:54 pm

    hi,Banji, very interesting;can i share this info with colleagues or people in my environment?

  20. 29 Jun 11 5:37 pm

    hi.Banji
    i have enjoyed this article
    i also use a very praticle technique to remember what i read. this involves writing a summary of every part or chapter of the book once you read it.

    thanks for the info
    Sam Kamal

  21. pavan
    29 Sep 15 8:30 pm

    Hi banji.this blog was really helpful for me in my exam preparation.thanking you a lot.

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