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Using the Simplified Theory of Compression Learning

This web log represents a fraction of the research notes and studies I do on a regular basis for my clients (and my own personal development.) I have notebooks of summarized books, condensed readings, and other materials I've rewritten in abstract. It's a practice I call the "Simplified Theory of Compression Learning"

Imagine if you could pick up a book and only read the most important points, those points that solve the specific challenges you are facing in business. While this information isn't always available (authors tend to fluff up their publications because a bigger book feels more authoritative), you can extract the key facts from what you read using this simple technique.

Always keep a notebook handy when reading new materials. Use your speed reading techniques, and the SQ3R Reading Method, but actually write down the answers to those questions in short bulleted statements. These bulleted statements need to be on a single idea and answer the question in a complete sentence. Include chapter titles when using the compression strategy on a larger work.

To make future use easy, post a bibliographic reference of the original material at the top of the note sheet. Use the same format you would for citing any other materials. Properly attribute any direct quotes, but most bullets focus on your understanding or commentary of the materials. You are literally translating the book into your own paradigm, your own words.

(Go one step further and note each item in terms someone else would understand you then produce a valuable tool for your own company. Now your secretary or assistant can summarize materials for you providing only key items relevant to the questions you have. Now you're compressing time and learning!)

How do you learn with this method?

While you read and document those key points your brain makes the decisions, "Does this answer the question at hand?", "What does this mean to me?", "How else can I say what I just read?" These micro decisions mill around inside your head cataloging the new ideas.

Our memory works by cataloging new ideas by subject, solution, and other areas depending on your personality type. With this method your interest in the topic pulls out the key points, moves them to physical action, and creates a mental association between that note, idea, and the original materials.

What do I do with all these notes?

If you do this often you will find it produces piles of notes and abstracts. As you increase your knowledge you'll find your abstracts contain ideas from multiple materials, your own experiences, and other strategies you've learned in the past. This goldmine of information is quite useless unless you can get to it easily.

I've used 3-ring binders for the last couple of years to group my notes by subject. Basically use any catalog method that makes sense to you (that makes it easy to find what you are looking for.) When I start a new project or face a challenge in my business, I grab one of these binders and work through the materials to quickly find the solution I need.

It's much faster than going through the original books -- a few hundred pages come to represent a few thousand. Since the original material is referenced at the top of each sheet, you can go to them for something you've missed. This method of compressed learning has saved me time, and provides a great resource for others you work with.

/ magic-one | success-prescription /

By Justin Hitt at June 25, 2003 1:05 PM  Subscribe in a reader


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