Tag: reading

Time To Crack Open The Books

WELCOME

Hello friends and family!

This week I worked on a couple of things in the background. More to come soon.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net.

Watch

What Is Right To Repair?

 

Do you really own what you buy? And why is it so damn hard to repair your phone?

This is a very important topic that you need to understand.

Learn here about the movement. While on the topic, definitely watch this video about farmers hacking their tractors.

Read

Facebook’s Oversight Board upholds ban on Trump. At least for now.

Facebook first suspended Trump for encouraging violence during the Capitol riot Jan. 6, before saying the next day that the ban was “indefinite.” Two weeks later, it referred the case to its 20-member Oversight Board, which is largely independent and funded by the social network. On Wednesday the board handed the decision back to Facebook, recommending that it either permanently ban or reinstate the president within six months — and write clear rules to explain the rationale.

The panel faulted the social network for making a hasty decision without clear criteria and told the company to reevaluate the decision within six months.

Yaël Eisenstat indicates the Oversight Board process isn’t about Donald Trump’s free speech. It’s about Facebook’s power.

The Dangers of Seeing the World Through Ubiquitous Video

Siva Vaidhyanathan on the rapid, global proliferation of digital video and how it makes it harder to sort and contextualize what we see and think about.

The overall effect is of cacophony: a vast, loud, bright, fractured, narcissistic ecosystem that leaves us little room for thoughtful deliberation. It’s not that we’ll believe the latest Covid conspiracy video (although too many people do). It’s that seeing video after video after video after video renders us unable to judge.

They’re all making contradictory claims; they’re all just slick enough to make plausible demands for our attention and respect. We find ourselves numbed by overstimulation, distracted by constant movement and sound, unable to relate to those ensconced in different bubbles and influenced by different visions of reality. We can’t address our problems collectively in the face of this montage. We can’t mount cohesive and convincing arguments with ease or confidence. We mistrust everything because we can’t trust anything.

That’s not to say collective, collaborative thought is impossible in the age of ubiquitous video. It just means that we have to try harder, that we must construct better methods to defuse propaganda with deliberation. I’m not sure we can do this.

Why we remember more by reading – especially print – than from audio or video

Naomi Baron suggests that when mental focus and reflection are called for, it’s time to crack open a book.

Digital texts, audio and video all have educational roles, especially when providing resources not available in print. However, for maximizing learning where mental focus and reflection are called for, educators – and parents – shouldn’t assume all media are the same, even when they contain identical words.

We frequently see these narratives that suggest heavy social-media use is linked to negative well-being and self-esteem among teenagers.

There remains “little association” between technology use and mental health problems, a study of more than 430,000 10 to 15-year-olds suggests.

Study authors Matti Vuorre, Amy Orben, and Andy Przybylski compared TV viewing, social media, and device use with feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies, and behavioral problems.

They found a small drop in the association between depression and social media use and TV viewing, from 1991 to 2019. There was a small rise in that between emotional issues and social-media use.

“We couldn’t tell the difference between social-media impact and mental health in 2010 and 2019,” study co-author Andrew Przybylski said.

“We’re not saying that fewer happy people use more social media. We’re saying that the connection is not getting stronger.”

Revisioning the potential of Freire’s principles of assessment: Influences on the art of assessment in open and online learning through blogging

Great research from Helen DeWaard and Verena Roberts.

They share a framework they call the Freirean principles of assessment to examine and evaluate student blogs. This provides opportunities to evaluate critical consciousness, community-based learning, critical pedagogy, and reflection.

Do

What is the best way to teach reading?

Mikkaka Overstreet with an excellent primer on the reading wars.

Sadly, there’s no magic bullet. There’s no one program or strategy that will work in all classrooms. We are not going to read aloud or phonics our way into better literacy in this country. Reading is a complex process requiring a nuanced approach.

Discuss

consider

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky.

Ojibwe saying

digilit banner

What is the perfect metal album for each astrological sign?!?! Here you go.

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Digitally Literate #223

WELCOME

What Tomorrow Holds
Digitally Lit #223 – 11/24/2019

Hi all, welcome to issue #223 of Digitally Literate, thanks for stopping by. Please subscribe if you would like this to show up in your email inbox.

This week’s issue is a day late as I was heading back from presentations at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference. It was good to see old friends, and make some new ones.

This week I posted the following:

Watch

Using AI to see which Celebs Photoshop/Facetune their Instagram pictures (13:54)

Researchers developed a process for recognizing photo manipulation and possibly undoing edits to photos.

Here is the research paper. Here is the tool on GitHub. Here is the iPhone app.

This would be very interesting to use with adolescents as you discuss social media, and the ways we present our digital identities.

Read

Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information

More than 60% of Americans think it’s impossible to go through daily life without being tracked by companies or the government, according to a new Pew Research study.

There are several key takeaways:

  • Americans not only know that companies are collecting their data, they do not approve of these practices. About 69% of Americans are skeptical that companies will use their private information in a way they’re comfortable with, while 79% don’t believe that companies will come clean if they misuse the information.
  • Very few people read privacy policies, the survey shows. That’s understandable.
  • Clear differences by race. About 73% of black Americans, for instance, are at least a little worried about what law enforcement knows about them, compared with 56% of white Americans.
  • Among all respondents, more than 80% were concerned about what social-media sites and advertisers might know.
  • More than 80% of Americans feel they have no control over how their information is collected.

The collapse of the information ecosystem poses profound risks for humanity

In several of my discussions about digital literacy, I suggested that we’re in the middle of a full scale war of disinformation. Individuals and groups are effectively DDos’ing online readers through a steady stream of real news, fake news, and hyperbole.

This point was highlighted by several stories this week.

The first of which is the top link in this section around the collapse of the info ecosystem. Lydia Polgreen suggests the following:

We are currently facing a new systemic collapse, one that has built far more swiftly but poses potent risks for all of humanity: the collapse of the information ecosystem. We see it play out every day with the viral spread of misinformation, widening news deserts and the proliferation of fake news. This collapse has much in common with the environmental collapse of the planet that we’re only now beginning to grasp, and its consequences for life as we know it are shaping up to be just as profound.

The end result is that no one believes anything, and people tune out everything.

While we’re on the topic, there is more research from the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) that suggests that high schoolers are unable to go online and discern fact from fiction.

The Captured City

This week, Sacha Baron Cohen made news with his keynote at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Never Is Now Summit on Anti-Semitism and Hate. The address was funny and entertaining, while at the same time making good points about the role of social media and tech in society.

Mike Masnick in TechDirt counters this with a detailed critique of the points made by Cohen, but also shares good insight on the role of social technologies in our lives.

…it appears he’s getting the wrong message out of how people behave on the internet. Some people are bad and behave badly. But many more are wonderful, and the internet has enabled them to connect and communicate as well, often in much greater numbers, and enabled them to do even more powerful things for good. Because, as Jillette points out, most people are, in fact, pretty good deep down inside. Let’s not throw the internet “down the well” because some people misuse it. Let’s use the internet to spread more good ideas, better help people who need it, and focus on realistic ways to stop hatred, rather than fantastical ideas that sound like they came from the mind of “wanna-be-gangsta Ali G” rather than “brilliant” Sacha Baron Cohen.

Rethinking “resilience” and “grit”

‘Grit’ and ‘resilience’ have become buzzwords in educational circles as we praise determination, and an individual’s survival skills. Perhaps focusing on these traits skews conversations away from equity and solving the structural problems that have a real impact on people’s lives.

…resilience and grit are central elements of our American mythology. What is less commonly acknowledged is that there can be a Darwinian inflection to these terms, one that is well suited to our country’s current extreme capitalism.

What’s next for Ed-Tech? Critical hopes and concerns for the 2020s

A great future studies piece by Neil Selwyn, Thomas Hillman, Rebecca Eynon, Giselle Ferreira, Jeremy Knox, Felicitas Macgilchrist, & Juan M. Sancho-Gil.

The authors reflect on how education (and wider society) is changing. This is the introduction to a special issue of Learning Media & Technology that takes the new decade as a prompt to look forward to the near-future.

They ask what issues relating to education, media and technology might be at the forefront of our minds when 2030 comes around? More importantly, it serves as a reminder to consider how we should be preparing ourselves for these future contexts.

Make

7 Simple Note Taking Techniques for Efficient Learning

The post shares seven techniques for note-taking:

I’m starting to get back into the habit of taking notes and journaling by hand. If you’re more of a digital person, perhaps this post will change your mind.

Consider

enter image description here

The best preparation for the future is a well-spent today.

John Dewey

digilit banner

Digitally Literate is a synthesis of the important things I find as I surf, skim, & scan the Internet each week. I take notes of everything that piques my interest, and then pull together the important stuff here in a weekly digest.

Feel free to say hello at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Digitally Literate #200

WELCOME

It goes on.
Digitally Lit #200 – 6/8/2019

Hi all, my name is Ian O’Byrne and welcome to Digitally Literate. Welcome to issue #200!!!

I started this newsletter several years ago with in the intention of curating during the week and distilling this down into an easy-to-read source for you to quickly consume. My goal was to provide the information & details you need to be digitally literate. I hope you enjoy…and thank you for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already.

You may also be reading this newsletter on the website. The website will share all of the stories I’ve followed during the week…and then some. Not everything will make it into the weekly dispatch that I send out.

This week I posted the following things elsewhere online:

Watch

Futurecraft 4D in partnership with Carbon and Adidas (1:34)

I’m super excited about the possibilities of 3D printing in our lives. In fact, next week I’ll be helping a group of elementary students as they print out their own 3D art pieces. The problem is that 3D printing always has questions about feasibility on a large scale.

That was until I watched this video from Unbox Therapy about a new Adidas sneaker and the “Futurecraft 4D” printing process used to create the sole. Imagine being able to scan your sole with your mobile device, and have a custom-fit show printed up for you. 🙂

Read

Facebook’s cryptocurrency will reportedly be announced this month

Social media giant Facebook is reportedly planning to announce its cryptocurrency later this month. Facebook also indicated they could even allow employees working on the project to accept payment in the cryptocurrency, which is said to be a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar.

According to The Information (via CNBC), the company will let users trade, store, and exchange its cryptocurrency for fiat currency through Facebook’s apps, including messaging platforms Messenger and WhatsApp.

Facebook has been moving from scandal to scandal over the last couple of years. Cryptocurrencies and alt-coins are built on foundations of trust. It will be interesting to see if this initiative takes off. Read here for the full story up to this point.

Facebook shareholders try and fail to limit Mark Zuckerberg’s power

Facebook is a publicly traded company, of which Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, owns a majority of the stock. This helps him control the actions of the company…and the other platforms owned by Facebook.

It appears that the board of investors has has enough, and tried to make some changes and weaken the power of Mark Zuckerberg. Shareholders are furious at the way Zuckerberg has handled a series of Facebook scandals, including election interference on the social network in 2016 and the giant Cambridge Analytica data breach last year. They think the company would benefit from an independent chairman holding Zuckerberg and his top team accountable.

The investment options at Facebook are structured so Zuckerberg owns a majority of the votes, and will always control the destiny of the company. This news makes the earlier story about Facebook launching their own coin even more interesting.

A festive mood at Apple’s conference for app makers, even as storm clouds gather

Apple held their yearly developer’s conference this week in San Jose, California. They introduced a ton of new product news, including an awesome Mac Pro and Pro XDR display, iOS 13, iPadOS, new Apple Watch featuresand more.

The products look interesting to me. The Mac Pro looks awesome, but wayyy out of my budget. iPadOS looks cool as well, but I never end up using an iPad in the ways that they describe.

I’m most intrigued by the news about Apple killing off iTunes, and their plans to have you sign in with Apple. There is no way that I’m using the Apple authentication process. They indicate that this is a safer alternative to a social sign-on with Facebook, Google, or Twitter. The difference is that it is their system, and is tied to Face ID. No thanks.

Breaking up Big Tech will be really hard to do—here’s why

Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are facing unprecedented scrutiny in their own backyard. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are preparing antitrust investigations into the companies, and plan to divvy up the work.

Martin Giles indicates that while regulators in the US have taken a big step toward bringing antitrust suits against American tech giants, they face a long road ahead for three reasons:

  • Big tech firms have generally made their services available for free.
  • They aren’t “natural monopolies.”
  • Big tech firms dominate data gathering and use insights to provide even more free services.

It will be interesting to see how this proceeds.

The Lost Common Spaces of Our Hyper-Segmented Lives

Last week I went on a vacation with the family and friends to Disney World. As always, I was examining the ways in which we socialize and commune in common spaces. Disney has numerous people that are paid to engage with you as you walk through the parks.

This struck a tone with me as I read the Ranjan Roy essay on The Sweetgreen-ification of Society and how technology and customer segmentation have separated us into disparate groups.

While I think about how our devices are forcing us to be social in only digital spaces, check out this video about how/why Disney has gotten to be so expensive.

Make

88 books to enjoy this summer: the TED reading list

If you’re wrapping up a school year, taking a vacation, or it’s just another week…pick up a new book to capture your imagination and perhaps inspire you.

This list of book recommendations comes from a group of TED speakers and contains guidance for all moods, activities, and tastes.

Consider
enter image description here

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.

Robert Frost

digilit banner

My colleague and friend Nenad Radakovic recommended that I start listening to Black Midi when we met up this week. Their music (IMHO) is a mix of Helmet, Rage Against the Machine, The Police, while being remixed with vintage video games.

Start here with their live performance on KEXP. You won’t regret it.

Digitally Literate is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Follow along here.

Say hey with a note at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Google’s astounding new search tool will answer any question by reading thousands of books

Google’s astounding new search tool will answer any question by reading thousands of books by Anne Quito (Quartz)

Called “Talk to Books,” the AI-powered utility will scan every sentence in 100,000 books in half a second.

For a long period of time, we heard a lot about the ambitious project from Google to scan all of the world’s books. This was back in 2007, and Google encountered a lot of battles along the way. But, strangely this story has gone very quiet as of late.
Well, amazing things happen when you dump that repository of info into one of the world’s best machine learning engines.

Google now has a way to convene that kind of forum—in half a second. Speaking to TED curator Chris Anderson yesterday (April 13), legendary futurist Ray Kurzweil introduced “Talk to Books” a new way to find answers on the internet that should bring pleasure to researchers, bookworms and anyone seeking to expand their thinking on a range of topics.
Type a question into “Talk to Books,” and AI-powered tool will scan every sentence in 100,000 volumes in Google Books and generate a list of likely responses with the pertinent passage bolded.

How Exercise Can Help You Recall Words

How Exercise Can Help You Recall Words (nytimes.com)

Aerobic fitness may help you avoid lapses in your vocabulary.

This report reminds me of an episode of Westworld.

Call them tip-of-the-tongue moments: those times we can’t quite call up the name or word that we know we know. These frustrating lapses are thought to be caused by a brief disruption in the brain’s ability to access a word’s sounds. We haven’t forgotten the word, and we know its meaning, but its formulation dances teasingly just beyond our grasp. Though these mental glitches are common throughout life, they become more frequent with age. Whether this is an inevitable part of growing older or somehow lifestyle-dependent is unknown. But because evidence already shows that physically fit older people have reduced risks for a variety of cognitive deficits, researchers recently looked into the relationship between aerobic fitness and word recall.

Source of this study from Scientific Reports.

To no one’s surprise, the young subjects experienced far fewer tip-of-the-tongue failures than the seniors, even though they had smaller vocabularies over all, according to other tests. Within the older group, the inability to identify and say the right words was strongly linked to fitness. The more fit someone was, the less likely he or she was to go through a “what’s that word again?” moment of mental choking.

The Complete Guide to Remembering What You Read

The Complete Guide to Remembering What You Read (betterhumans.coach.me)

What If You Forgot How To Forget?

Rhymes are easier to remember.

Nowadays, facts are available at the click of a button. A vast knowledge of facts might make you fun to talk to, but…

Being book-smart just for the sake of being book-smart is a vanity metric for your ego.

Don’t learn solely for the sake of learning. Be a practitioner. Use the information you consume. Ironically, learning things right when you need them will also help you remember them better.

Why? To find out, let’s look at…

How Memories Are Created

There are two types of memories:

  1. Memories you make a conscious effort to form.
  2. Memories you form unconsciously through experience.

The first type of memory is stored in your hippocampus. It’s what happens when your new neighbor John introduces himself to you and you go: “John, John, John, John, John…” in your head, over and over again, to not forget it.

The second type is stored in your neocortex. When you went to Disneyland with your grandparents for the first time, got ice-cream, it fell on the floor, and the nice lady behind the counter gave you a new scoop, this experience ends up there.

Memories stored in the neocortex are much stronger, because each part of your memory is stored in a different section. For example, the taste of the ice-cream is stored in the synapses of the taste section, while the 1920’s design of the ice-cream parlor is saved in the visual processing section.

More synapses in more locations means better recall, and that’s why experiences are easier to remember.

Experts in any field, be it chess, kung fu or sales, become experts through repetition and deliberate practice. It’s their experience of using what they learn that builds their memory. So don’t just cram your hippocampus. Take what you learn and form experiences with it.

Read it when you need it.

Think of it in terms of input and output. When you have an output you’re trying to generate (like a marketing plan for your business), you have something to tie the input to (a book about marketing).

Of course you can make up a reason to need it — like I did with writing every day last year. As long as it leads you to directly apply what you learn and turn it from nothing into something, that’s fine.

Only then will learning be meaningful.


As you can see, consuming information in a just-in-time manner with a strong reason to do so is the first and most important step towards retaining more of it. That said, once you’ve decided something you’re about to read is important, you’ll want to boost your memory to the max.

Here’s how.

A Complete Guide to Remembering What You Read

When I look at the process from reading to retention, I see five phases. Let’s walk through them, break them down and optimize our behavior along the way.

1. Previewing

In 10 Days to Faster Reading, before she covers any speed reading exercises whatsoever, Abby Marks-Beale reveals the most powerful way to read more:

Read less of the stuff you don’t need to.

Before you even begin to run your finger across the paper or your eyes from pixel to pixel, ask:

1. Why am I reading this?

2. Why do I need the information that’s in here?

This is your chance to truly live up to the “Read It When You Need It” motto. Once material passes the most important filter, you can do what Mortimer J. Adler called an inspectional read in his 1940 masterpiece How to Read a Book.

The goal of an inspectional read is to answer two more questions:

1. What is this book about?

2. What kind of book is this?

You can do this by skim-reading the following sections:

  • The title page.
  • The editor’s blurb.
  • The cover text.
  • The table of contents.
  • Introductory sections and important paragraphs of chapters that interest you.

This equips you with one of the most important enablers of information:

Context.

Having an idea of the overarching theme of a book, as well as the purpose its author had in mind, while writing it, will significantly improve how you catalogue its contents.

“Content is king, but context is God.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

2. Reading

The most common reason a book gets frustrating and we throw in the towel is that it takes too long to read. Let me clarify: It takes us too long to read.

Hence, Adler suggests you read the book cover to cover on your first pass through, but don’t look up things you don’t understand. Even without perfectly aligning every single piece of the puzzle right away, remaining aware of the context will allow you to arrange the final bits and details later on.

That said, there is one, massive counterpunch to be thrown here, which will strike a balance:

Pause after every paragraph.

This idea stems from Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer. Let me explain.

In a paragraph, all the emphasis lies on the first and last few words. Therefore, a paragraph instantly exposes what the author thinks is important. It’s like listening to someone talk while paying attention to which words they pronounce more clearly, more slowly, and which ones they repeat for emphasis.

The best way to catch these accents of importance and reflect on them is to think of paragraphs as literary breathing guides. When you start a new one, you slowly breathe in and then gradually exhale as you read on and on, before coming to a full exhale upon the last word.

Might be longer than a mile, though.

Breathing in sync with paragraphs gives your reading a nice rhythm, and reveals what makes a good paragraph: too many one-liners and you’re hyperventilating, too many drawn out walls of text and you’re out of air too soon.

I guess the metaphor to use is to think of a book as a long, winding road with the occasional set of speed bumps. You don’t want to fly over them, as it’ll damage your car, but you don’t want to come to a full stop at each hump either.

3. Note-Taking

The question is not whether you should take them, but when. Two options come to mind:

While reading

Given our conclusion in the previous section, we’ll want to keep on-the-go note-taking to a minimum, which, even if done in the book, is distracting.

However, one thing that won’t block your flow and will be of huge benefit later, is highlighting.

A sample page with my highlights from Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is The Way.

While reading, some sentences naturally feel more important than others. Phrases pop out, paragraphs demand: “Remember me! I’ll be important later.”

Follow your gut. Be spontaneous. Let your subconscious do the work, your eyes point out the result and your fingers make the mark.

After reading

Speaking of subconscious, while I’m sure you’re eager to take notes right after closing the last chapter, waiting for a few days until you extract a book’s lifeblood comes with a few advantages.

The following two I found in Benedict Carey’s book, How We Learn.

First, there’s the Zeigarnik effect, which is your brain’s tendency to remind you of things you’ve left unfinished.

In learning, this means while you’re taking a break after a 4 hour hardcore math session, your subconscious keeps processing the last problem you got stuck on and the solution might come to you in the shower the next morning.

Letting the impressions of a good book sit for some time holds them in your subconscious and makes later drawn conclusions stronger.

Second, the spacing effect rushes to your side, which indicates learning works better spaced out over time, rather than limited to a single event.

Ever forget someone’s name right after they introduced themselves? That’s because mumbling it over and over again right away doesn’t help. It just makes your brain bored. Your brain needs breaks to remember things.

Sending yourself a reminder with John’s name two days after you heard it the first time will be much more efficient. And so will leaving the book on the shelf.

Third, this gives you the opportunity to explore other, topically similar books in the meantime.

Why is that helpful? As Nat Eliason points out, reading related books, or select chapters of them, allows you to identify universal constructs. After all, timeless philosophical advice won’t be written about just once. This is what Thomas C. Foster refers to as intertextuality, the dependency of all texts upon one another, in How to Read Literature Like a Professor.

By the time you get back to your original book, you’ll have a solid idea of which concepts have stood the test of time so far.

Keeping these advantages in mind, two note-taking systems in particular deserve your attention:

System I: Question/Evidence/Conclusion

Designed for streamlining note-taking in non-technical college classes, this system designed by Cal Newport translates well to non-fiction books.

The concept is simple: instead of transcribing exactly what the professor says, capture the big ideas. To do so, reduce your notes to a series of questions paired with conclusions. Between each question and conclusion should be a collection of evidence that connects the two. — Cal Newport

What’s remarkable about this idea is that it lets you file almost every sentence into a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive classification scheme.

More from The Obstacle is The Way.

In the upper example, the question “What is up to us?” is paired with the listed evidence to arrive at the conclusion that those things resemble our playing field and are therefore under our control.

You can do this on paper or directly in the book, as I did, but will either way arrive at a big set of interconnected conclusions.

System II: The Morse Code Method

Another contribution Cal Newport has made to the note-taking world, this method is designed to take notes fast.

Dot or dash — what’s it gonna be?

Instead of a lengthy alphabet though, the Morse Code Method only relies on the original elements — the dot and the dash — to denote ideas and support for those ideas.

1. If you come across a sentence that seems to be laying out a big, interesting idea: draw a quick dot next to it in the margin.

2. If you come across an example or explanation that supports the previous big idea: draw a quick dash next to it in the margin. — Cal Newport

Yup. Ryan Holiday. Again.

In this example, the idea is that failure can be a good thing. The support is presented in the form of questions, which, if answered, will provide a learning benefit. Additionally, Holiday says failure pressures us to think — which is a good thing.


Which system you use, or whether you design your own, is up to you. Regardless of the implementation, notes are a big part of this complex system of recognizing, then classifying key ideas and sending them to long-term memory by putting pen to paper.

So even if you never went back to the notes, you’d find you remember a book’s most important ideas a lot better, thanks to the act of extracting them alone.

Beethoven explained this phenomenon well. He left behind hundreds of sketchbooks filled with notes. Yet, he admitted he never looked at them while composing. When someone asked him why he took notes in the first place, he responded:

“If I don’t write it down right away, I instantly forget it. If I write it down, I never forget it and don’t have to look at it ever again.”

However, unless you’ve reached Beethoven-status already, let’s do take a look at them again.

4. Condensing

However many pages of notes you end up with, distilling them one last time will show you what the entire book ultimately boils down to and give you an easy tool of reference.

I like to artificially limit myself to 1–2 pages per book.

What remained of the 25 chapters of the two separate books inside Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me, I’m Lying.

In your summary, you can include:

  • Each chapter’s premise in one sentence.
  • A highlight reel of the most important notes.
  • A quote or keyword that’s easy to recall.

Of course you could also draw sketches, create mind maps, or write a continuous text.

Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler. — Albert Einstein

5. Remembering

At this point, you’ve set your memory up so well, remembering should come naturally. Nevertheless, taking out your notes in increasingly delayed intervals and reviewing them will go a long way to cement your takeaways.

There’s one more thing you can do, to make even that easier:

Visit the Memory Palace

Early on we established that experiences are the most powerful way to remember. But nowhere does it say they have to be real. You can just as well create them in your head to observe a somewhat similar effect. Joshua Foer calls this the Memory Palace in Moonwalking With Einstein.

For example, walk along a route you know really well in your mind, maybe through your house, and place the lessons from your notes along the way. You can even tie those to objects — a lesson about perseverance might go as a stone into your closet, one about creativity as a color chart onto your kitchen table.

Whenever you then need to recall one of the lessons, all you have to do is take your mental walk again and pick up the right items as you go along.


However, even the best memories must once come to an end. As does this guide.

I hope it was helpful. Even more so, I hope you’ll remember it. That way, you can…

Read it when you need it.

Nearly one-in-five Americans now listen to audiobooks

The Pew Research Center is an excellent accounting of the changes in our behaviors as a result of the Internet and other communication technologies. This week they had two reports that really had me thinking.
The first is this one about audiobook usage by Americans. In my literacy research and education circles, audiobooks and podcasts tend to be things that we all use and consume. Yet, when we think about “real reading” in the classroom…we don’t think that audio content counts. I think we need to problematize this thinking.One of the storylines from this report also suggested that print books continue to be more popular than e-books or audiobooks.
The second report suggest that a quarter of U.S. adults say they are “almost constantly” online. Just let that sink in for a minute.