The One Thing

The One Thing Approach to Reading

My sister-in-law was looking at my bookshelf one day and she asked a seemingly innocuous question:

What did you learn from this book?

Despite having recently read that particular book, I was quite shocked that there was not one thing that came to mind when I attempted to recall the content of the book.

One of the reasons I started this reading project was because of her question. I liked reading books but I didn’t like forgetting what I read. This project is an experiment in ways to better remember what I read.

Here’s what I’ve found:

When I try to remember a bunch of ideas from a book, I end up not remembering any of them.

But, if I just try to remember One Thing from a book, I can usually recall that one idea even months later. Not only that, recalling that one thing ironically helps me to remember other things from the book.

It’s a completely counter-intuitive idea, but it works. Try it.

This is the reason I end each episode of the Books of Titans podcast with The One Thing, my one key takeaway from each book. Not only does it provide you, the listener, with an idea from the book, it also helps me to recall that book later on.


Here’s a bonus trick – if instead of remembering One Thing from a book, if you can begin implementing One Thing from a book, you will be even more likely to remember the book because it’s changed a pattern in your life.

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