How to organize the information from books that you read

There is a lot of knowledge that can be garnered through reading books. Of course, there are tonnes of information freely available via the internet ie blogs and YouTube.

However, the depth of the knowledge that you gain through reading a book is very different from YouTube videos, websites or blogs. This is spoken from my personal experience- I used to read a lot and when the internet came about, I poured over blogs and YouTube videos. But in terms of knowledge and skills, I pick up a lot through reading books, more than I do by endless hours of watching videos.

Information in books are well researched, presented in a systematic manner and available at its entirety. The author would often be an authority in the subject or at least have years of experience to justify the publication of the book.

Note: There are a few exception to this- in areas of technology, web and blogging. For example, guidelines for WordPress plugin or CSS may be obsolete by the time the book is published because it is evolving very fast. But certain topics would always be classics, such as “How to Make Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie which is published in 1936 and still relevant today.

Anyone can start a blog or site to write whatever that comes to his/her mind. But if you are trying to publish a book, it is a totally different ball game altogether. Your information has to be valid, with proper cited reference and the content is useful before it can be accepted by the publisher.

Therefore, I really encourage you to read books on your favourite subjects or even on whatever topics that you are curious about. You can improve on your life and learn new skills through reading.

However, in order to retain the knowledge that you have learned, the best would be to take notes while reading through information that you find relevant to you or strike a special chord in your heart. If you do not do that, it is very likely that you would forget the information.

How taking notes from books can change your life

A really inspiring person that we can learn from is Matt Morris. When he was 21 years old, Matt was $30,000 in debt, homeless and living in his run down Honda Civic. He showered in gas station and once showered naked at the car park of a church.

Through his website, it is mentioned that “through a massive commitment to personal development and disciplined work ethic, by age 24 he was earning a six-figure income and by 29 he was a self-made millionaire. Now in his late thirties, Matt Morris is happily married with three beautiful children.”

He has brought his life around through following learning from successful people. This is learnt mostly through reading. He has over 1000 books in his home.

Like what Matt Morris mentioned in his video, “How to Read a Book for Maximum Learning”, he mentioned that when you read a really good book, you would not be able to remember the contents. He suggested to take notes when reading and to refer back to these notes.

He jot downs the notes in his journals (you can see a stack of book on his left which are his collection of journals over the years). He has written a few bestselling books, one of which is “The Unemployed Millionaire: Escape the Rat Race, Fire Your Boss and Live Life on YOUR Terms” which you may want to check out.

Take notes and organize them in journals/diaries

In my previous article, I mentioned how to organize ideas in an idea book or a journal. I also apply the same approach when it comes to reading books.

When you come across a good book or a good mentor, don’t let the good advice pass you by. Retain the information by writing in a notebook or a journal.

I recommend organizing by date…. ie sticking to one journal/ notebook at a time when taking notes from books. Labeled them based on the duration- ie September 2017- April 2018 with the front index page marking the books that you have read.

Writing down lessons learnt from a master and mentor in notebooks/ journals

In my life, I have been fortunate enough to meet a wonderful teacher and mentor who changed my life tremendously. There are many antidotes and lessons that I actually write them down in inexpensive notebooks. Fortunately I did because had I not done so, I would have forgotten the many lessons that I have learned. In the course of 10 years, I have recorded my experiences and stories using 8 books.

This is useful because it helps to reflect back on the changes and your experience would be useful to help someone who may be going through the same situation that you have once gone through. Sometimes I also include some of these stories and sharing in my teacher’s website and I could recall this because I had written them down. And we had people writing to us to express thanks that the sharing has helped them.

There are also the teachings of many great masters (often after they have passed away) that could be made into books that ended up benefiting countless of others because some of their followers took the trouble to put lessons learned and the master’s exact words in journals.



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