Durgesh Pratap's Blog

How to Soak Any Book into Your Brain

Written By: Durgesh Pratap
Filed under:

Table of Contents

Read more books, remember more of what you read, and apply those ideas to your life

You know what? I was surprised to hear of Joy’s new hobby, reading. Joy is more into football and hip hop music, so I did not expect him to land in the world of books.

But it was not the sole reason Joy came to my house.

“I can’t finish any book. Someday I read 5 pages, and then I don’t read for weeks. I also forget what I read,” Joy said.

Joy wanted help from me because he knew I am a book ninja.

“Alright, Joy,” I said.

“I will tell you my secret trick about reading, and after that, you will be able to

Read more books

Remember, most of the things from the book

And apply its ideas into your life

But before I tell you my process of reading, I want you to do this homework.”

Dedicate A Time

If you don’t set aside time for reading, you won’t be able to complete your book. So, I suggest you set a fixed time for reading.

Dedicate A Space

Find a reading space. A place where you feel relaxed and comfortable where no one can disturb you. It can be a room, a corner, a bathroom, or even your bed.

Flight Mode

You must put the most distracting thing on flight mode while you read. People can wait, don’t worry.

Joy looked at me in a discouraging spirit. He had already read it on the Internet, and this advice is everywhere. It seems Joy was looking for a super-duper reading trick.

“All right, Joy, I will come to your place on Sunday, and then I will explain to you the rest of the action plan,” I said.

“Sunday? Why not now? I want to apply things from today,” Joy Said.

I find the problem with most people: they want to get rich quick, want to get fit in a week, and want to become wise instantly. But it doesn’t work that way.

“First things first,” I said.

I told him Sunday. Because I wanted to check if he was earnest about his new venture, or it was like last year when he came to take advice on being regular at the gym.


So it’s Sunday, and I am at Joy’s place holding a book in my hand, which he noticed immediately. He asked me why I brought a book with me, to which I said, “It’s a part of the action plan.”

I wanted to check his reading space, a balcony, and it was quite a place to read.

Now, I was sure that Joy was pretty serious about reading.

We grabbed our chairs, and Joy was ready with a pen and a paper to take my advice.

“All right, let’s begin,” I said.

“Why do you want to read a book?” I asked.

“To gain knowledge,” Joy replied.

“And Why do you wish to gain knowledge,” I asked again.

“To become successful, knowledge helps,” Joy said.

“Okay” I took a brief pause. “What makes you think you are unsuccessful?” I looked at him and asked again.

He was quiet for a moment and then started reasoning. “Because there are people who are more successful than me, they live a better life. Drive better cars and have more money.” He said.

“Okay, so you measure your success by comparing it to people who are richer than you, and money is the measurement unit for success. And, you assume books will give you that wisdom to earn more money, and it will make you happy.”

“That’s totally fine, but here is the problem. It’s a never-ending comparison. I mean, Joy, at every stage, you will find a person richer than you. Which ultimately will not result in happiness. It’s a trap that they are selling you, don’t buy it.” I said.

“So what should I do? Should I quit reading?” He asked.

“No, that’s not the point. You must read but for improvement expecting nothing. Then only you will think rationally and come up with your own conclusions. You see, when you read with an agenda of getting rich or something like that, you may pick things from the book according to the agenda, distracting the rational thinking,” I explained.

“I don’t understand,? If I get nothing out of a book, why should I read it in the first place?” Joy asked.

“Yes, you are right. You should not read a book with an agenda. But you should read with clarity. You want to become rich by reading this book. That is an agenda. Can money make you happy? No. That is clarity. There is a difference.” I picked a book from the table.

“Okay, here is a book on waking up early? I mean, really? You need to buy a book and read it to wake up early? don’t you know how to wake up early?” I said.

“Yes, I want to wake up early. That is why I bought it,” Joy said.

“Sleep early, my friend,” I said.

“But I can not sleep early; that is the problem,” he replied.

“Then you bought the wrong book, get a book on the sleeping disorder. See that is clarity,” I said.

I understood Joy was getting irritated by now, and he might have felt that asking for help from me wasn’t a good idea.

So I made things simple, and I gave Joy some piece of advice

Get clarity before you start a book.

You need to answer this specific question. What is my motivation for purchasing this book, or what do I hope to improve with it?

So write this on a sheet of paper: “I want to learn/improve/understand ______ with the help of this book.”

This is significant because when you approach anything with clarity, your understanding and focus will improve.

Always begin a book with clarity. (Not with an agenda)

2. Books are not knowledge

Books are not knowledge, but they are a source of information. Knowledge is something you gain by putting any information into practice or reality based on your own conclusions.

Consider how much information you received as a child and what percentage of it you actually remember?

You only remember things you’ve put into practice and have come up with your own conclusions.

Always derive your own conclusion from the book.

3. Get an overview of the book, skim through chapters

Get an overview of the book and its content to determine if it is interesting.

Try reading for a few minutes, and if it isn’t for you, move to the next page or chapter.

Still, if the book doesn’t seem right, you shouldn’t read it.

You might be able to read it later, but not now; now is not the time.

Look for another book.

I don’t read every book I buy.

4. Start small if you’ve found a book you’d like to read.

Usually, the biggest obstacle is picking up a book and figuring out how long it will take you to complete it.

The logical part of your brain comes up with an answer, something like 10 days.

Thus, your analytical brain tells you this is a type of project you should start tomorrow. There it goes, back to the shelf.

Instead, start with something small, like a chapter, a page, or a paragraph.

When you approach in this manner, your brain thinks, “Oh, it’ll only take a few minutes; let’s get started.”

When you read, you will notice the paragraph converts into a page and leads to the chapter.

Reading is your goal. Do not consider the book’s length or pages.

We took a coffee break, and I also did not want to overwhelm Joy by giving many lectures at once. So the break was necessary, and I kept my last arrow for the climax.

After we finished our coffee, I continued with my most important piece of reading advice.

5. Notes — The soul of effective reading

If I had to recommend only one thing for effective reading, it would be to take notes. It helps you process the information and get conclusions you never thought of. This opens up an entire world of wisdom that was unknown.

Image source jdguru.com

“I tried note-taking, but It did not work for me. I have a lot of stuff to write, and it gets confusing.” Before I could proceed, Joy interrupted.

So I made it pretty simple for Joy to take notes without getting confused.

And, if you, too, have trouble taking notes from the chapters or are getting confused with many thoughts, try answering these 5 questions.

What is the chapter’s primary message?

Hint: In this chapter, try to figure out what the author is trying to tell you.

What is my opinion on this?

Hint: Write your thoughts and opinions about the chapter’s primary message.

Is this useful in any aspect of my life?

Hint: Take a moment to think of how you can apply the chapter’s message in your life.

If so, how will I put it into practice?

Hint: Prepare an action plan for applying the message to your life.

Any additional notes (if there is anything else you would like to mention)?

Hint: If you discovered something new, then write about it.

Put the sheet of paper in the book, where you stopped reading it. That way, you can pick up where you left off next time (Acts as a bookmark too). These notes can always serve as a great resource in the future and a quick look if you want to have an idea.

Then I took out the book I had brought along. “The Power of a Positive No by William Ury” and explained with an example of how I take notes from a book.

Example — The Power of a Positive No by William Ury

Which I’m reading at the moment.

I bought this book because I have difficulty saying no sometimes.

I also wanted to understand the psychology of no and learn How to say no without hurting anyone’s feelings or being rude.

Therefore, I have a clear goal for this book. I’m interested in learning how to say no to people in a more effective way.

CLARITY — How to say no to people in a more effective way.

The takeaway from the first chapter.

What is the chapter’s primary message?

Answer — As the author says here, saying no is difficult for us because we feel bad about it. It makes us feel guilty because we think we are doing something wrong. Unwillingly, we say ‘Yes’ to avoid that guilty feeling or sense of wrongdoing. The ultimate takeaway from this chapter was, “When you say no to something, you say yes to a better probability in the future.”

What is my opinion on this?

Answer — I find this idea insightful. What a better way to take No in such a positive manner in life.

Is this useful in any aspect of my life?

Answer — I find it helpful in many areas of decision-making.

If so, how will I put it into practice?

Answer — I will apply this whenever I feel uncomfortable or don’t want to do something. My strategy is to simply ask for a few minutes to think before I deny any proposal. For example, my friend Mr. ABC wants me to go to a party, but I don’t want to go there. I ask him to give me some time to check if I have anything substantial. In the next half an hour, I politely decline to attend the party because of my important work.

Said No to

  • Party, I do not want to attend.
  • Late Night sleep.
  • Late morning for work.
  • Unproductive time.

Said Yes to

  • Got time to finish my work.
  • Better sleep.
  • Fresh Morning
  • Productive time.

Any additional notes (if there is anything else you would like to mention)?

Answer — No Additional notes. This is the only thing I would like to take from the chapter.

The Last Arrow — Protect the process.

“Protect the process” Advice by Dan brown — Author of The Da Vinci Code.

“Protect the process? what does this mean,” Joy asked. “Yes, protect your reading process from the world, from calls, friends, movies, Internet, and even from yourself.

If you can be at your reading space every day, at your scheduled reading time, with a book in your hand. Then you can protect your reading process.

And if you do that, you will read more books, getting the most out of it,” I concluded with my last advice.

Key Takeaways

  • Dedicate time and space for reading.
  • Don’t read forcefully. If it does not resonate, move to the next book.
  • Make small reading targets.
  • Always begin a book with clarity.
  • Derive your own conclusion from the book.
  • Take Notes — The soul of effective reading.
  • Protect your reading process.

Reading is not an action. It’s a habit that you develop with a consistent process and practice.

About The Author

Durgesh Pratap is a versatile entrepreneur engaged in video production, advertising, writing, and digital marketing. Known for his diverse skill set, he writes about maintaining productivity and focus in both business and life, sharing insights from his multi-faceted career. His work inspires others to balance diverse interests and succeed in the dynamic world of entrepreneurship.