Abstract

How I read.
No grand strategy.
Just how I do it.

Main Text

A reader asked me about my reading habits, and how I remember things, etc.
So how do I it? First, obviously you have to be single or have an indulgent partner (I have the second).
With that condition satisfied, it helps to have a good memory.
My memory is probably under-predicted by my general intelligence.
It's a trait I get from my father, and it seems something that my daughter seems to have inherited (I have found it very handy, but it can be quite annoying to have a small child who remembers so well!).
But there are other more practical things I try to do.
First, I balance facts and method pretty explicitly.
For example I read population genetics and stats texts now and then (I have a reasonable reference library), as well as books on programming and software development.
A jumble of facts without ways to sieve through them and analyze them are useless.
The very act of engaging in contingent formal cognition is probably helpful.
It also helps to dig deep into a specific topic.
The reality is that you need to mark the grooves on a specific topic set over and over.
But, as you read more on a topic you read faster, and retain more novel information, against your preexistent data set.
To me this is evident in a case of contrasts with this style.
Occasionally I'll read a book on a scientific field outside of core area, and I don't feel like I retain much.
This is particularly tragic when it comes to neuroscience, since ten years ago I read a lot on this, but once I focused more tightly on genetics I set this domain of interest aside.
Finally, related to the above topic, but it really helps if you branch out topically in a manner where you can synthesize information.
In my case my interest in historical biological sciences and human history dovetail pretty easily, where I can use results and frameworks from the former in the latter, while the latter can enrich my set of empirical illustrations of the former.
If you are curious, you might want to check out my Good Reads[1]​ account.