Reading Comprehension: How to Retain More of Every Book You Read - Deepstash

Life's too short to waste it on average books because there are so many amazing things to read. 

The best books are the ones that incorporate skilled writing and high-quality ideas. The key to reading well is to start more books and quit most books.

To get a reasonable idea of how good a book is, do this:

  • Skim the table of contents
  • Browse through the chapter titles and subheadings
  • Pick an interesting section of the book and dive in for a few pages


To retain more of what you read, putting ideas into action is one of the best ways to secure them in your mind.

Choose a book that's practical so that you can apply the lessons taught, in real-life situations.

For example, if you're starting a business, reading a sales book is ideal for getting everything you can to land your first profit.


Keep notes on what you read and store them in a searchable format.

Evernote is a good tool to compile your notes because it's instantly searchable, easy to use across multiple devices, and you can save your notes offline.

Here are some ways to annotate notes for different formats of books:

  • Audiobooks - Create a new Evernote file for each book and type your notes into that file as you listen
  • Ebook and prints - Highlight passages and add a summary of the book or additional thoughts in Evernote


A book is a knowledge tree with a few fundamental concepts forming the trunk and the details forming the branches.

Retain more of what you read by "linking branches" and integrating your current book with other books you've previously read.

Connections like these help you "hook" new information onto concepts you've already understood. 


The best way to figure out what you've learned from a book is to write something about it.

Using Feynman's note-taking technique, write the name of the book at the top of a blank sheet of paper, then write down how you'd explain this book to a beginner. 

Some questions to consider while summarising a book could include:

  • What are the main ideas?
  • If I could apply one idea from the book now, what would it be?
  • How would I describe it to a friend who has never read it before?


If we only read one book on a topic and use that as a basis for our beliefs for an entire category of life, we won't have an accurate and complete knowledge about them. 

To overcome this problem is to read a variety of books on the same topic. 

Dig in from different perspectives, look at the same problem through the eyes of various authors, and be willing to step out of your comfort zone of experience.


Revisiting books helps you to catch some stuff you missed the first time around.

The problems we deal with change over time so it's more likely that new passages and ideas will be relevant to you.

Re-reading books is a good way for ideas to be repeated and be remembered too. 


Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.