I have read over 30 business books, but remembered close to nothing.
As I changed the way I handled information, I began to memorize it in a way that I could use it for myself and others. Here are 6 stages of processing new knowledge:
Level 0: Consuming
What I do: I read, watch, or listen to something.
What happens: I compare new information with my existing worldview. If it is valuable, it moves into the subconscious.
Level 1: Highlighting
What I do: I mark highlights of relevant info.
What happens: When consuming, I already pay attention to information that is relevant for later. My highlights end up in my digital notebook. That way, I can access it again.
Level 2: Repeating
What I do: I process the highlights.
What happens: By reflecting on highlights, either through a specific situation, such as a conversation, or simply for repetition, they gradually become part of my consciousness.
Level 3: Using
What I do: I use the information in everyday life.
What happens: When I apply a new framework in a workshop, the experience internalizes and connects with memories that will remain much more vivid than pure theory. That’s “learning by doing”
Level 4: Reproducing
What I do: I recreate the information, e.g. as an article or graphic.
What happens: A piece of information must be taken apart into its component parts in order to reassemble it in a meaningful way. This guarantees that it is created in a way that is easier for the creator to digest.
Level 5: Teaching
What I do: I teach the learnings to others.
What happens: When I want to test whether I have really understood something, I try to explain it to others. This exercise ensures that I can integrate the information in a simple way for the future. Bonus points if you manage to “explain it like I’m 5”.