One of the good people I follow on Twitter posted this link today:
To illustrate what I mean, I’ll try to draw on your own learning experiences. You’ve probably discovered that certain strategies help you absorb new ideas: solving interesting problems, writing chapter summaries, doing creative projects, etc. Whatever strategies you prefer, they’re not magic. There’s a reason they work (when they do): they’re leveraging some underlying truth about your cognition—about the way you think and learn. In many cases, the truth is not just about your cognition but about human cognition in general.
Ha! I’ve been writing chapter summaries for all the books we have read so far and IT DID INDEED help me a lot to retain more than usual knowledge from all those books. I also tend to talk about the books I’m currently reading when I go for lunch with colleagues or have dinner with friends. This as well helps – and it does indeed show how little information we retain. What seemed clear as water when I read the book suddenly becomes incredibly difficult to summarise a day later at lunch.