Read to Remember Part II: Mind your Mappers!

In Part I of Read to Remember we discussed how SQ3R can help improve your reading retention, even up to 400% if you weren’t doing any sort of review or deep processing before. Andy Hunt, in Refactor your Wetware, makes a strong case for incorporating mind-mapping into your learning regimen. But how does mind-mapping help your brain? Isn’t it for grade-schoolers?

Read to Remember Part I: SQ3R

If you’ve been around the computer industry for a while, you’re no doubt aware that we are afflicted by information overload. There’s too much information and knowledge to be absorbed by one person in one lifespan. And that same body of knowledge continues to morph and shift with the capricious tides of the industry. A recent article on SitePoint discussed How Not to Get Overwhelmed as a Developer . It advocates specialization in order to avoid eventual burnout. That’s a good start, but even subfields have become so vast that even then you feel overwhelmed under the torrent of technobabble. Further adding to your frustration, you read an excellent article or two, and within 8 hours, you’ve forgotten 80% of what you read. That’s annoying. In this post I’d like to introduce you a time-tested reading technique which can boost recall from that measly 20% to a respectable 80%. It’s called SQ3R. Combine that with the techniques of mind-mapping and you’ll find yourself better equipped to face the information onslaught.