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  • - In this video, I'm gonna take you through

  • the seven levels along the journey

  • of trying to remember everything that we read.

  • Hey friends, welcome back to the channel.

  • If you knew him, my name is Ali.

  • I'm a doctor based in the UK and on this channel,

  • we explore the strategies and tools

  • that help us live healthier, happier, more productive lives.

  • And if you're anything like me

  • and you're interested in personal development,

  • lifelong learning, becoming a better thinker

  • and all that stuff you'll know that reading

  • is a very important part of this,

  • but if you're anything like me, you've read a lot of books,

  • but you've probably forgotten the vast majority

  • of the stuff that you've read and probably

  • haven't yet applied it to your life

  • in the way that you'd liked.

  • A few months ago, I realized

  • that this was a big issue for me.

  • And so I've been actively working to try and remedy it.

  • And so in this video, I'm gonna share what I think

  • are the seven levels along this path

  • of trying to remember more of the stuff that we read

  • and apply to our lives.

  • We start off our reading careers at level one, the Muggle.

  • This is basically where we read stuff,

  • but we're just reading it.

  • We're not highlighting it, we're not taking any notes.

  • We're not really engaging with the material

  • beyond just passively reading it.

  • And when we're muggles and trying to learn

  • about a new topic like entrepreneurship or whatever,

  • we'll end up just reading loads and loads and loads

  • and sort of hoping we're gonna passively absorb stuff

  • by diffusion, by osmosis, whatever,

  • but we're not like actively using any brain power

  • to engage with it.

  • This is fine if we're reading fiction, but for nonfiction,

  • and when I read nonfiction, I kind of wanna

  • get some insights from it.

  • I want to learn stuff.

  • I'm a dumb-ass and therefore, I just forget

  • everything that I read and therefore,

  • this isn't good for me.

  • And it's probably not just me

  • because there is a phenomenon in memory research

  • called the forgetting curve, which just shows

  • that over time, our memory for everything decays

  • unless we find a way to engage with it

  • or consolidate our memory of the thing.

  • At some point, we might realize

  • that our Muggle existence is pretty unfulfilling.

  • And so we'll come across level two of the journey,

  • which is The Squib.

  • And when you become a Squib at level two,

  • you're now reading stuff, but you are highlighting

  • or underlining the things

  • that particularly resonate with you.

  • This is easy enough to do if you read on a Kindle

  • or you can use one of these like old school things,

  • I don't even know what the court anymore,

  • because we haven't used this stuff.

  • And this is what I was doing since I first got a Kindle

  • in around 2008, 2009, all the way through to 2018.

  • When I discovered that actually

  • there were more levels along this path.

  • And this is fine because highlighting stuff is kinda nice.

  • And it's kind of fun to use

  • one of these old fashioned antique devices.

  • But the problem with highlighting stuff is

  • A, we actually don't remember the stuff that we highlight

  • and there is a mountain of evidence that shows

  • that highlighting or underlining

  • does nothing to actually improve our memory of the stuff.

  • And we also run into the issue

  • that we've got all these highlights,

  • but they're sort of hidden away inside our book

  • or inside our Kindle and we don't really have a reason

  • to go through them.

  • So that was me from 2008, all the way through to 2018.

  • Those were the dark days.

  • But then in September, 2018,

  • I reached level three, which we're calling Hufflepuff.

  • And level three, Hufflepuff is when you have

  • a systematic system for reviewing your highlights.

  • So in September, 2018, I discovered this amazing service

  • called Readwise.

  • Link in the video description.

  • And what Readwise does is that it automatically

  • connects to your Kindle account and it pulls in

  • all of the highlights you've ever highlighted

  • from all the books that you've read.

  • And what they do is that every day,

  • they send you an email with five random highlights.

  • So I started using read wise in September, 2018,

  • and I've been getting this email every day.

  • And for the first few months,

  • I was religiously reading this email and I found,

  • oh wow, this thing that I highlighted five years ago

  • is now very relevant to me today

  • and the Readwise email has surfaced it for me,

  • which was really awesome.

  • But over the last two years, I've kind of become

  • less and less religious about reading

  • my five daily things in the read wise email.

  • I still get it.

  • I still open it from time to time,

  • but it's a bit too passive for my liking.

  • And that is when we get to level four.

  • And we're calling level four Ravenclaw,

  • because I couldn't think of anything else.

  • And I deeply apologize for playing into the stereotype.

  • I didn't mean it. I'm work, trust me.

  • But level four is what I talked about in my video

  • about the magical Insight Logging Framework,

  • which will be linked to somewhere up here.

  • And basically this is a system whereby

  • you automatically pull in your highlights

  • into a central note taking app.

  • And so we can see here, I've got my Readwise database,

  • which has all the books and it shows

  • all the highlights I've made in each one.

  • So I can look at the books and we can see

  • I've got 126 highlights from "Tools of Titans",

  • all of which are gonna be in here.

  • And it also links very nicely to the location

  • and it opens it up in the Kindle web app

  • if that's what I wanna look at.

  • We also have articles over here.

  • So this is taking all of my highlights from Instapaper

  • and we even have Tweets.

  • So these are tweets that I've saved to Readwise

  • that are automatically coming into Notion.

  • And we have podcasts that this is podcast air quotes

  • that I've taken through the app Air to IO.

  • Again, a lot more details about the system

  • in my magical Insight Logging Framework video,

  • which will be linked up there.

  • And so this is level four.

  • This is where we've got a tool

  • that automatically pulls in our highlights.

  • And because I use Notion

  • for absolutely everything in my life, pretty much,

  • it's all very convenient when it's sitting there.

  • But level four is still a little bit problematic

  • because this is still very passive.

  • All we're doing at this point

  • is we're bringing in highlights and we're hoping

  • that our future selves will at some point

  • revisit the highlights just because we want to.

  • And again, I've been doing this for a few months now,

  • but I found that inevitably other things were coming up

  • and I was not finding the time or making the time

  • to actively review the highlights of the stuff

  • that I'd read in Notion.

  • And this is where we start to get into the fun territory,

  • because now we have level five, which is Dumbledore's Army.

  • And when you're at level five or a member of the DA,

  • you engage with books by taking quick notes

  • on the stuff that you've read.

  • Now I'm gonna show you how I do this in Notion.

  • So I've got this book notes database that has

  • all of the books that I read, fiction and nonfiction.

  • And for each of these categories, fiction and nonfiction,

  • I've created templates that I use

  • for my very quick book reviews.

  • And so if I've just read a nonfiction book,

  • I will put a nonfiction book template here.

  • So it asked me to give the title of the book.

  • I can select a genre so let's say productivity,

  • philosophy and magic.

  • Why not?

  • And I can say the date that I finished it,

  • let's say that was today.

  • And basically what this Notion template does is that

  • it creates these categories for me.

  • So firstly, the book in three sentences,

  • impressions, how i discovered it, who should read it,

  • how the book changed me and my top three

  • quotes from the book.

  • So this is actually very quick.

  • And this level, level five, is what I regret not doing

  • with everything that I've ever read.

  • Because if you can just summarize a book in three sentences,

  • that's like a really fantastic way

  • of actually engaging with the content.

  • And as someone like Richard Feynman would say,

  • it's a way of actively ensuring

  • that you actually understand the concepts in the book.

  • And so here are some notes that I took

  • on "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon.

  • The book in three sentences,

  • share your thoughts and your process

  • and your work online for free.

  • You don't need to be an expert to share your work.

  • Beginners can easily help other beginners

  • and three by sharing your work online,

  • you'll attract an audience of people who care

  • about the same stuff as you do,

  • and this can change your life.

  • So that was kind of my three sentence summary of the book.

  • Then I've got impressions where I just

  • sort of write subjectively what I thought about the book.

  • I have who should read it.

  • Occasionally I have how I discovered the book,

  • if I remember how I discovered it,

  • and here's some notes on how the book changed me

  • and my top three quotes.

  • Now the point of this system is that

  • it does take a small amount of time to actually think about,

  • but it's not a large amount of time.

  • And like, I really wish that if I'd done this for every book

  • that I've ever read, I know I'll be like today,

  • I'd be infinitely more knowledgeable

  • about all this stuff than I am

  • just because I just never considered

  • engaging with this stuff.

  • So level five is I think a good sweet spot between

  • the amount of effort it takes to do this,

  • i.e it doesn't take that much effort,

  • but I think it also gives you a lot of value

  • when you can start summarizing books in three sentences.

  • And if we're doing it for fiction,

  • this is what the template looks like for that.

  • So we've got a section about what it's about,

  • how I discovered it, general thoughts and who would like it.

  • So again, all of these templates

  • are linked in the video description,

  • so you can check it out.

  • And if for some reason you don't yet have a Notion account,

  • you should follow the link in the video description

  • and get it for free.

  • Notion is an absolutely amazing app that I've been using

  • since early 2019 and I think it's fair to say

  • that it's probably changed my life.

  • I organize my entire life around it.

  • I organize my whole business.

  • I use it to take notes at medical school

  • and to prepare for a number of my medical exams,

  • used to track my workouts.

  • I use it to write book reviews.

  • I use it to script all my videos and to work with my team.

  • It's just got so many different use cases

  • and I've got tons of videos about Notion

  • that will be linked in a playlist over there.

  • And best of all, it is completely free.

  • You only pay if you're going for one of the team plans

  • or if you need like additional bonus features,

  • but most people can use Notion completely free of charge

  • basically for as long as you want.

  • So hit the link in the video description

  • if you haven't got an ocean account for whatever reason.

  • And if you do, there'll be a link to my kind of book notes,

  • template thingy so you can duplicate that