3 Ways to Gain More Wisdom From Books

Key Takeaways

  • Reading a good book is a great way to gain knowledge.
  • Unfortunately, if you don’t retain what you’ve read, that knowledge won’t compound to become wisdom.
  • If you’re reading to learn, there are some ways you can better retain what you’ve read.

“If you get into the mental habit of relating what you are reading to the basic structure of the underlying ideas being demonstrated, you gradually accumulate some wisdom.” That’s a quote from Charlie Munger, and it speaks to something many of us seek in life: wisdom.

One really great way to learn is to read non-fiction books, but the challenge is to retain and then synthesize what you’ve read, allowing the knowledge you’ve gained to compound over time. An article by James Clear, 7 Ways to Retain More of Every Book You Read, provides strategies to accomplish this. We’ll review three ways here.

First, only read books you would read twice or more. Choose quality books that will teach you something new each time you read them. As your situation in life changes, these are books that will help you view things in a new light over time. The way you understood things when you were first starting out in life is certain to have changed as you’ve aged and experienced new things; quality books will speak to you through the decades.

Second, stop reading more books than you want to read. Stop feeling obligated to read a book that someone selects for you. Oftentimes, we get “shoulded” into reading a book, with someone telling us “You really should read this book.” Your time is valuable and you don’t have to read every book. If you start one and it’s just not doing anything for you, then set it aside and move on.

Third, use an easily accessible online library of notes on books you’ve read. Do this to highlight main ideas you want to retain. Consider writing a short summary of the book to include in your notes. Doing this online makes it easy to search your notes in the future. And with really good books, you’ll find yourself referencing them at various stages in your life, helping you better understand what these authors have imparted in wisdom to you.

Take a look at the full article for more tips on how to retain what you’ve read. Hopefully this will help you to build your knowledge and make a big difference for you. Until next time, enjoy.


If you’d like to read more on this topic, here are a few of our past Coyle Blog posts that you might enjoy:

Wealthy Reading

The Need to Read



Gary Klaben serves as a Financial Advisor, and visionary for Coyle Financial Counsel. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about The Coyle Process, approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about The Coyle Process and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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 All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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