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Chris Do

Have you ever read a lengthy paragraph from a book and then sort of woken up and asked yourself, “Wait. What did I just read?” You and us both. Reading is a fantastic way to learn, but if you don’t retain that precious information then what is the point?

How to get more from what you read
How to get more from what you read

How to get more from what you read

Ep
163
Nov
17
With
Chris Do
Or Listen On:

Why you can’t remember what you just read

Have you ever read a lengthy paragraph from a book and then sort of woken up and asked yourself, “Wait. What did I just read?” You and us both.

Reading is a fantastic way to learn, but if you don’t retain that precious information then what is the point?

In this Clubhouse discussion Chris shares his approach to reading books. How he reads, his note taking method, and why he suggests you read a book three times. And he is joined by The Futur Pro Group members, Stephanie Owens and Rahul Bhogal.

Whether you are a bookworm or not, you will pick up a few practical tips to get more out of what you read. So join us while we explore and discuss the powerful magic of language and written word.

Books referenced:

The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns

How We Learn by Benedict Carey

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp

Range by David Epstein

Hosted By
special guest
produced by
edited by
music by
Appearances

Episode Transcript

Chris:

Ask yourself, why do you want to read this book? Literally, why do you want to read this book? What do you want to learn? Write down two or three questions you hope to have answered by the time you finish reading the book. That's the intentional part. I hope that makes sense.
Hello everybody. It's not like we're strangers here, but good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Hello beautiful people. I've got some time to kill, some skills to drill. Hope you paid the bills. Today we're going to be talking about how to get more from what you read. This call is being recorded. FYI it's being recorded, it's in the title and I'm also saying it right now.
Up on stage with me are my moderators. Stephanie is a series eccentric who helps music makers build brands with strategy and soul. And it just, it feels like deja vu because we just did this last night. And Rahul is a brand identity designer helping brands connect with people through design that is on a symbol and beautiful.
Please do me a favor. They're doing this out of their own goodwill spending a Sunday with us as a part of Sunday service. Check out their bios. If they're interesting to you give them a follow. They're also going to be helping me to facilitate today's conversation. I think this is a generator from you Rahul so set the stage for what we're going to talk about today.

Rahul:

Okay. As the title suggests, we're talking about how to get more from what we read. The reason why this came up is Chris seems to have this ability to remember and cite references from so many books at any given time and he's a beast when it comes down to how many books he can read and digest so quickly. We're going to dig deep into best practices for what it goes into taking notes and summarizing what you've learned and hopefully be able to be a content beast like Chris.

Chris:

All right. Sounds good. I'm scrambling here. This is my third call for the day so I hope my energy level's going to still be up high. I believe this is a topic that's been on a lot of people's minds because when I recently shared a post on, I think it was eight books that I'm crushing through and people started panicking like, oh my God, am I supposed to read eight books at a time? No, you read whatever you want, however you want. I'm just sharing what I'm doing.
Of the eight books, I finished five. I've got three more to go on this list and hundreds more to go outside of this. I want to share with everyone who's interested how I read, what I do with what I read and maybe some tips along the way.
Now, I would not classically describe myself as a reader. Reading was a chore. Reading is a thing I had to do, not that I got to do from my many years in public education. Public school. I always felt I had a strong negative emotional energy. My intention to read was to get done. My intention was to get through whatever I needed to get through and so I wasn't really reading to learn. And so the intentionality is very different.
I will talk about that and we'll invite a bunch of people to come up and join us on stage. If you're a speed reader, if you're a memory master, one of those types who can help provide some insight, please feel free at some point to raise your hand. We'll prompt you when to do that. Okay Rahul, did you have a specific question or did you want me to start talking?

Rahul:

Yeah. I guess we can start by how do you read so efficiently?

Chris:

Okay. Let's talk about that. How do you define efficient? Because I want to know where the bar is being set in your mind. How do you know I'm efficient? Just out of curiosity.

Rahul:

You just mentioned you're reading five out or eight books and I struggle to sometimes just read one book at a time. To me first, how are you reading one book effectively or efficiently and then doing it simultaneously the same way with all these books?

Chris:

Okay. I just want to be very clear for the most part I only read one book at a time. I do switch books from time to time because I get bored. It's not hooking me or I think I read enough about this topic and I'll revisit it. Some of the books I don't fully count read until I literally go from cover to cover. But many people who read or read prolifically do not actually read all the book.
I remember talking to Seth Godin about this and I think he said he reads a book a day and I said, "How is that possible?" He says, "When I get the idea, I feel I've had enough. I stop reading." I want to say something here. Unlike in fiction, nonfiction tends to be around one central thesis and it tends to repeat the main idea over and over and over again.
If you've read any nonfiction like self-help books, books on branding strategy, whatever, they tend to have one idea and they just keep hammering it. I have some theories on as to why this happens. Let me first share that and that will give you some insight on potentially how you might want to read.
I also want to caveat that this is how I do it. This is my system. This is my technique and you'll need to find a technique or a process that works for you. Here's my first theory as to why books are so repetitive.
First, I think it's like legitimacy. I think thick books feel more legitimate than thin books. I don't know why. And so to meet a certain page count, to have a certain heath and girth in your hands when you're holding onto a book, you feel that's a legitimate book.
There's ways to get around this. You can use a lot of negative space. You can use big point size and texts and really include diagrams and charts. Then sooner than later, you have a lot of pages in a book. I think that's one thing and I think we have this false equivalency with length or number of pages and characters on a page as to value.
I'm the exact opposite. If you teach me more in a thinner book, I find the book to be more valuable. Some of the books that I recommend have the most economical use of words per page relative to ideas. I would pay more to read less if you can communicate it more effectively.
I think there's something there about perceived value. Also in academic circles, people tend to be very verbose and so they write a lot and you can even tell. Even some of my favorite authors, they'll finish writing the book and they'll include a whole section in the back like ideas that didn't fit the book, but then you include it in the book. So they'll even do that.
The next thing, and this is the more optimistic reason why I think people write a lot and say the same thing over and over again is because people learn differently. Some people will learn just from reading the table of contents and the introduction and the first chapter and they got the idea and they're done. Some people need story after story after story.
I'm reading this other book. Where is it? When I say I'm reading, I've already read it. I'm trying to pull the title here, but it's a book on grit and it just shares one story after another about how one founder or one company that you might not know that much about how they're able to persevere during hard times and to become the brands and companies we've learned to love.
After reading a couple of them, I was like I get it. But I'm crazy because I feel I'm cheating if I don't finish the whole book so I finish reading all of it. The truth is every single time I'm not surprised I didn't learn that much more. There's a law of diminishing return there and those are clues for you. If you read a book and you feel like you got the idea, you don't have to finish it. I might read the conclusion in case it's one of those plot twists at the end. Then read the last chapter.
That's how I see it in terms why books are so thick. One is because just for legitimacy, poor editing. Too many ideas into one book. Repetition and hopefully it's because people learn differently and they need a lot of different ways of understanding the same thing. But I'm the kind of person who's like, I got it. I got the idea. I can get it in one sentence actually and that's why I like quotes too. I get the big idea.
Okay. I want to put that out there. All right. In terms of efficiency, I'm only able to read a book a day. If I just block out that day to read, I'm good. In about eight hours of reading, I'm going to finish a whole book. I want to help you with some of the ideas on how you can read a book in a day and actually retain anything. Because that's the important part.
It's less about what you consume. It's more about what you're able to retain and part of retention is implementation. We'll talk about that a little bit later. The more that you're able to apply what you've learned, the more likely it is that you're able to remember it. Okay. How can you do this?
I like to read in bursts. 90-minute sprints. About an hour and a half and I build into and a timer that I'll stop reading. Because I just need a moment to clear my mind because otherwise it just all blurs together.
The other thing that I'm doing is when I'm... And I'll tell you about the different styles of reading, but when I'm really reading, reading, I'm going to read every word on the page is I do 90-minute sprints and then I'm writing in the margins and I'm also at the front creating an index. The index is my cheat sheet. My own table of contents as to what's important to me.
There's a whole video on this by Tim Ferris. It's called How to Remember What You Read. Tim Ferris is notorious for his ability to learn new things and so they're great tips on that. Literally just write in How to Remember What you Read Tim Ferris, and you'll find the video. It's a tip I picked up from him.
I used to just write in the margins, highlight, underline, star, circle things. But I think what happens to me is then I'm all always searching for where that is then. And so having an index at the beginning written in one of the pages where it's blank with page numbers and the key ideas helps me to find what I read much faster and it breaks up the monotony. As I'm reading something, I'm always holding a highlighter and I'm highlighting. Usually I have a pen and a highlighter and I'll tell you what I'm doing when I use a pen and highlighter.
Okay. If I highlight something, that's just really good. That's a really good idea. I'll go back to the front inside the book jacket and on the front page if there's a blank spot, I'll just write the page number and I'll write whatever the idea is. Sometimes I'll write the whole idea out, sometimes I just write some keywords so I'm able to go and find it again.
He does something where he uses some coding system, a legend. If he uses the letter PH, it's just because he likes the phrasing of something. I think that's nice. PH for him is like the wordsmithing. Just the writer has a deft touch with words and he wants to remember it just that way. He'll write a couple of key ideas and then he'll write PH. Then he'll use a star or he'll circle something if it's something for him to take action on. I think that's a tip on the whole implementation thing.
We're reading in 90-minute bursts. We're also being very focused when we read and I'll talk more about that in a second. And we're taking notes in the... Stephanie, help me out here. What's the front first page called? There's a literary term for this, isn't there?

Stephanie:

I don't know. I don't teach novels. I don't teach books. I don't know what that's called. I'm sorry.

Chris:

Okay. That's all right. Whatever it is. There's usually a space or page, whatever that is. Not always, but you just find the first area where you can write inside the book. It usually precedes the whole praise for the book from different people. Sometimes it's on the actual title page.
I'm holding up here The Obstacles the Way and Stephanie and Rahul can see this, but I've got notes all over it. You guys can see that. That's my handy-dandy guide back. Here's one dilemma and something that happens here. As I write in the book and I highlight the book, the book becomes mine. It becomes personal and it becomes more valuable. So I don't want to loan my books out to anybody because if they lose it, if it gets damaged, I feel like I have to reread the book to pull the parts out again.
This is now my personal book. I'm holding up The Obstacles the Way by Ryan Holiday. Let me see how much this book is. Let me see if I can find the price. It's $25 list US. But this book now is to me in my mind is worth hundreds of dollars because my time is worth at least that much. And so this is critical. I almost have anxiety when I can't find my book and somebody's like, "Oh, here. Here's my copy, Chris." I'm like, "No. I don't want your copy. I want my copy."
Now, I've heard this reaction before when I show people my book because it's crazy. Notes, drawings, diagrams inside the book in the margins, all over the place. There are three highlighter colors and they're freaking out. They think it's disrespectful to the author and the book itself that I've vandalized the book itself and they say, "Well, what's the purpose of your book? Is it to go into museum? Is this a limited edition collector's thing that you're trying to get value over time or is the book the purpose of the book is for you to learn?"
The perfectionist in me, the fake OCD person in me used to have an issue with that like don't talk near the book and don't deface it. But then that goes against the whole point of reading in the first place. This is a means to an end and not the end. This is critical. Okay.
For all of you who don't ever want to touch your books, great. You have pristine books. Maybe you also have pristine minds. I like dirty books. My mind is also dirty. It's got a lot of things in there. Okay. I'm going to point to some resources to you and other ideas. Go ahead, Rahul.

Rahul:

Yeah. I just wanted to comment. The first time I highlighted a book because I've heard you say this so many times was so nerve wracking and I think it's like growing up books have... It's almost like this thing that you worship because you have a lack of knowledge and education and when you get a book, you got to keep it without a scratch. You don't even leave it on the floor type of thing.
Even now it's really hard, but I think now I'm trying to highlight books but I'm also trying to understand what am I really highlighting? Am I just highlighting for the sake of it? It's a mindset shift for me slowly.

Chris:

Yeah. I just want to be clear about something. I don't deface and defile the book. I don't use it as a door stop. I'm not using it as a coaster for my drinks. I'm not using to wipe my mouth and my hands on. I'm not throwing it across the room. But what I'm doing is I'm using it for what it's meant to be for, which is the transmission of thoughts and ideas from the author to my brain and I will do everything I can to increase the impact of that transmission.
You're right. It would gross me out just because of who I am anyways. I'm not going to put it on the bathroom floor. That's gross. But I'm just talking about taking notes and doing whatever it is I can to memorialize and to make it stick in my brain.
Now, here's something that's happened years ago. I read the Win Without Pitching Manifesto. I thought it was great. I shared it with my team. I bought everybody a copy and I said, "Read this book. Especially the people who are client facing, read this book." A week later I'm like, "Did you guys read it?" They were, "Yep." "Let's sit down and let's talk about it."
I'm thinking this is going to be exciting because I want to have a discussion about your ideas and how we can implement what you've learned. For the story, there were only two other people in the room. Two client facing people, producer and account manager. I said, "Okay. Let's go."
There's 13 or 12 proclamations in the book. I have my coffee. I have my notes. I'm ready to go. "What's one idea that stuck out to you?" Room is silent. They're like, "Well, I didn't memorize the book." I'm like, "I'm not asking you to recite the book. Just tell me one idea that stuck out to you. Either you liked or disliked." They're like, "I didn't know it was this kind of meeting."
They literally both read their own copies of the book and it's not a long book to read. You can read in a couple hours and they couldn't tell me one thing from memory. I think they pushed back. They were like, "What are things that you remember, Chris?" I just went on the board. I started writing everything I remembered from the book.
This goes to something else. We mentioned it but I'm going to get right into it. Intentionality. Why did I read the book and why did they read the book? Those two things are very different. They read the book because they were told you must read this book. This book is great. They probably read it the way I read books in junior and in high school, which is to get it done. To get it off my checklist so it's a burden. It's interrupting my day.
My intention of reading the book was people have been talking about this. I want to learn how to win without pitching. Is it possible? Here's some things I want you to do too. Here's the first hot tip. I want to have a sizzling sound effect, but I do not like psss. Just burning sizzling.
Ask yourself, why do you want to read this book? Literally, why do you want to read this book? What do you want to learn? Write down two or three questions you hope to have answered by the time you finish reading the book. That's the intentional part. I hope that makes sense.
If you look at the book, why the heck did you pick it up? What do you want from this? So rule, if I could I would pan this camera and you would see first of all the crazy things that are out of frame like my world is total chaos and you would see I am literally surrounded by books all over the place.
Here's how I pick the next book because people are like, "Whoa. How do you pick the next book to read if you have literally hundreds of books?" I have a problem. I got to go and speak on something. Or am going to be doing calls with Anna [Lirob 00:18:51] brand strategy. I'm going to look through my library and it's like that title seems interesting. This one seems interesting and oh, this might be relevant.
I pull those books off the shelves and then I form my stack. Chances are a lot of the books have similar titles. Are talking about the same or similar things. I'll talk more about that in a second.
To me it's like I have my own personal library or bookstore. So every time somebody that I like, admire or would consider a friend recommends that I buy a book, I just add it to my Amazon cart and I just checkout. I want to try and fill up a few books because of all the shipping costs. Not shipping costs, but the expense of shipping boxes and freight and all that stuff. I try and order five books at a time. They'll arrive. I'm like happy for a second then I'm like shoot, more books to read. I put them on the shelf and then they just sit there for a long time.
My intention when I pick up the book is because I need to use what it is that I'm reading. Now, I'm not reading just to put the information in my head, but I'm reading so that I can share it with someone so I can be a little bit smarter, sharper in a conversation. Write down the two or three questions you hope to have answered. That's important. Okay. What's the next thing you want to know or should I just keep talking?

Rahul:

Yeah. I'm hoping at some point we can maybe read a snippet out of something because I really like the way we did the live Kia versus Porsche and how you picked up on certain things versus how we did.

Chris:

Yep.

Rahul:

I'm curious too. We can do that eventually, but I think if you want to keep going, you can just keep going with the flow. Oh, Stephanie has a question.

Chris:

Yeah. Let's do that.

Stephanie:

Well, mine is more of an idea. See, my teacher brain is going on overdrive right now and I know how I go about teaching this stuff to my students and I'm just wondering just to put it out there. There are always three things that I'm asking my students to look for and it's big picture development that's going to get into theme, purpose, the why. The why of the writing. Then author's craft which is how do they put the words together? That is, the purpose is to help my students become better writers.
Then there's author's perspective which is so they can synthesize this information with other information that they have available to them on whatever unit we're in. I'm just trying, I just want to put it out there as an idea of what my brain is thinking like if we're picking up a book, what are those three learning targets?
I know what mine are always going to be when I'm teaching. They're those three learning targets. Then from there I always have my students do a three, two, one at the end of a chapter or the end of if it's a nonfiction book. Occasionally I do teach a book, but it's normally just a part of a book. But normally it's also just a piece of a speech.
A three, two, one would be, I want three unique perspectives from the author. Show me two instances where the author used a particular type of diction. One would be, what is the big purpose of this? Just having the three, two, one linked to the learning targets and maybe you could do that at the end of every chapter. This is just something that I'm just thinking off of the top of my head. Reframing what I'm doing in my classroom to what we can do as readers for our businesses and content creation.
Maybe the one thing you do is what's one piece of content you can create from this chapter or what's one action you're going to take from this chapter? Just thinking out loud.

Chris:

Nice. Stephanie, as you're think out loud, perhaps you can construct a framework for us if the goal is content creation so spend a little bit of time. Maybe at the end you can refine that a little bit to give us a special three, two, one for content creation. Okay?

Stephanie:

Like a three, two, one action steps for the audience?

Chris:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

I got you.

Chris:

With the purpose of content creation.

Stephanie:

Got it.

Chris:

Okay. Couple of other things I want to mention here. I'm scrambling here so my ideas unfortunately are not as organized as I'd like them to be. I just took mad notes before we got on this call. Okay. A couple other things here and I believe this but I'm not 100% sure about this.
Jim Kwik, who's like, I think he wrote the book Limitless. He's a memory master and he's just able to help people learn more and remember things right. Ability to recall is really important. He says that there's no such thing as multitasking. There's context switching but there's no such thing as multi-tasking.
So multi-tasking is a lie. You are not able to do two or more things at once, generally speaking. That means like when you're reading the quality of the input dramatically impacts the quality of the output. If you're reading chewing gum solving a math problem while watching Netflix kicking a ball, your ability to do that might be greatly diminished.
Maybe you're some super freak genius and so his belief is that multitasking is not real and that you need to be super focused. Have a singular focus. 90 minutes focus. So you want to get yourself in a good spot, a good chair, a good lighting and probably not even music or any music with lyrics because they'll distract you.
I think when I was younger, this would be most definitely true because I'll read pages and pages and I'll come out of my hypnotic trance and like, what did I just read? I know I read it. My mind was moving but I just don't even remember. It's because I was daydreaming about something. You're nodding your head. That would be the case. If that's you, most definitely put the blinders on, shut it down and just focus on the words.
I have some tips and it's silly, but I think if I remember this, I must have seen this or read this online somewhere. How to increase the speed in which you read. Your ability to process is greater than what you think in terms of how you look at blocks of information at a time.
I find that to be difficult personally but one thing that I do is I use a pen or my finger and I dictate how fast I read by how fast my finger moves. Because if I were to read it, I would probably read it the way that I would speak it. But your mind can read much faster than your mouth can speak. I'll just use my finger and just scan the page and it keeps me super focused.
I have a physical thing that I'm doing with my finger. I'm moving it across and I deliberately move the finger quite rapidly and I'm just going through I'm like, yep. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you can knock it out. And any time I see something, woo. I need to remember that. That's good. I like that. I will highlight with my... What is this called? A Mars Staedtler Textsurfer Classic. My highlighter. I love this brand in particular just because it looks good and the colors are amazing. Orange, for anybody that's curious.
I will highlight whole chunks of information. Okay. If I see something that's in there that could be a framework, a tool, an exercise, I will then underline or put a box around it. The author's intention wasn't to create an exercise or a framework, but I'll turn what they wrote into a series of questions or prompts to help teach.
Then this is where I make my money ladies and gentlemen. I bought a book for 25 bucks, but I'm going to charge somebody $2,500 for me to teach them just these little concepts in these books by turning it into an exercise. Because I know this, if you guys remember the learning pyramid, it's like what somebody tells you, what you see, what they tell [EV 00:26:55]. It goes all the way down to the bottom. The things that you do and then things that you teach.
If you're able to do something, your ability to remember it is much, much stronger. And if you have to teach it, that's the highest level of retention. So I'll break down something. I'll reverse engineer it. I'll ask myself questions like I wonder how this author came to this thing? What questions were they asking themselves? If the author's writing something brilliant like a way to summarize an idea, I'll try to reverse engineer it. What's the first question? What's the first prompt? What's the second thing?
Then when I feel really strong about that, I'm going to jump and I'm going to start drawing. But I'll get into that a little bit later. Okay. So 90-minute focus sprints. Try to reduce the distractions. Singular focus with great intention. What is it that you're trying to get from this?
Now, I'm going to do this a lot today on this third call for me today which is to repeat back the ideas over and over again because I want you to be able to retain this. Okay. Now, I did mention something if you were paying attention that I'm not so sure that I can't multitask anymore. Because here's what I like to do. I like to put my butt on the couch, turn on Netflix, turn on some series, leave the volume at a certain level where if I need to hear it, I can hear it, but it's not overwhelming me. Then with my notepad, my markers and my pen right next to me with a stack of books and I will get through that thing and it's no problem.
To me, Netflix is a little bit of the lubricant to make it easy. However, sometimes when the series is too interesting, I have to stop my reading. This slows me down. I'm like, wait a minute. What did that character say again? You could say that I'm either really reading and I'm not watching Netflix and it's just music or noise. White noise. Or I'm really watching the show and I'm just really taking chunks at a time from the book.
But there's something weird that happens here. If I'm trying to split here, I feel that the most relevant or the strongest ideas pop and those are the things that I remember. The words and the transitions in the middle aren't the things that I'm going to remember and that's okay.
Here's something from another book and I'm going to mention books all along here and I'll create a special link in my bio after this call so that you guys that are tuning in from any of the calls today, I'll create a link for you in my bio after this call. There's a book it says The Surprising Truth About How We Learn. It's by Benedict Carey. I've not finished the book. It gets super nerdy but I really like it.
One of the surprising things about how we learn is that we have to forget to learn. What? The book has I think 10 chapters in it and each one challenges conventional thinking. That's why it's called The Surprising Truth. There has to be a surprise. I'm going to open it up to the contents here. The book is called The Surprising Truth About How We Learn by Benedict Carey. Okay. Listen to some of the things that he says. Okay. The story maker, the power of forgetting, breaking good habits-

Chris:

... the power of forgetting, breaking good habits, spacing out, the hidden value of ignorance. You guys get the tone here? If you just read the table of contents, which is a tip too, it starts to give you some clue as the author's intention, his or her POV, and maybe the thesis. The upside of distraction, see that? Quitting before you're ahead, being mixed up, learning without thinking. That's about harnessing perception and perceptual discrimination, tapping to that subconscious, and look at this last one. You snooze, you win. Each one of these titles is a hook to me. In the book, backed by a lot of science and data and research, he's like, "Part of remembering is forgetting. You have to make room for new ideas." He talks about short-term and long-term memory, how we move things from one column to the next. And so, if your brain is already filled, you can't learn new things. Hence that expression, you can't fill a cup that's already full. That's a metaphor for how we learn. So, we have to empty the glass. Your ability to purge what you've learned, allows you to learn new things. If you can't purge and remember, then you're going to be in this constant state of picking up a book like these two for my office, who read the book, who could not even tell me one idea in their own words, what they read. Not a singular thing.
Okay. Let's keep going. A couple of other things. Reflection. Oftentimes, I think for me, when I'm doing a couple of different things, I ask myself, "What did you learn? What can you apply? What are the key takeaways?" And in a very real way, I'm just going to peel back my brain here. I get super excited when I read, because if I find something in there, I'm going to turn that into gold. Not literally, but figuratively, those ideas will make me money. I already know it. I already know it because I'm going to give a talk and someone's going to give me 20, $30,000 to do that talk. I'm going to run a workshop and I'm going to charge hundreds of dollars to people who are going to attend. I know it. I'm going to create a framework around everything because I'm self-described hyper learning machine because I'm a hyper teaching machine and those two are linked. Here's a Jim Quick expression. The best students are the best teachers. The best teachers are the best students. Learning and teaching are inextricably linked, so the better you want to be as a student, start to become a teacher, vice versa.
To me, I'm always looking for ways to implement what I learned, and the objective for me is not about gathering more information, but about retention and implementation of what I've already learned. I have more tips and things, but I don't want to overwhelm you, so we'll just keep going. What's another question or reflection that you may or may not have? Do we need to bring other people up on stage?

Rahul:

Yeah, we can open it up.

Chris:

Well, it's open. We don't need to bring anybody up just yet, but while I'm talking, Rahul and Stephanie, if you can help me. Maybe Stephanie, since Rahul's theoretically driving this, okay? Stephanie, you are the teacher, so if you can scan people's bios to see if they can contribute to this conversation in a meaningful way. If they're a student or a teacher, that would be awesome. If there is some memory wizard, that would be awesome. If they teach mnemonics, that would be awesome. We're looking for a very specific type of person, so I'm going to leave it to you to highly curate who wants to raise their hand. Oh, I'm already seeing hands go up here.
If you're an academic, I'm interested in talking to you. If you teach different learning methodologies, learning modalities, I'd love for you to join us on stage. Do me a favor, edit your bio so that it's a reflection of what we're talking about today, because sometimes your bio is going to read, I trained monkeys on how to juggle, and then we won't bring you up because it doesn't seem relevant to what we're talking about. If you teach the Harkness method, I would love to bring you up. If you teach Socratic teaching, Socratic process, Socratic method, I'd love to bring you up, so just put those in your description and Stephanie will do that. It'll take some time for her to scan and curate, but go ahead and raise your hand and we'll do that. Okay, so back to you, Rahul.

Rahul:

Okay, so what I'm hearing, before I get to the question is, in order to retain, you must either teach or talk about it or apply it in some way immediately.

Chris:

Not the only way, just a way. I have other ways.

Rahul:

Do we want to talk about that, or should I ask my question?

Chris:

Yeah.

Rahul:

Okay.

Chris:

No, no. I can talk about it. Points of clarification and reflection are welcomed for sure. I had mentioned this to you before. When I read and I want to share something. I might've shared this recently. I'm going to assume not everybody's listening to every single call and taking copious notes, so let me share this idea. I'm on a hike with my wife and we're talking about consumption and we're talking about in the very broadest sense, like how we consume things, and I think I've shared this with you already, right, Rahul? About eating and consumption. If we, as a species, consume too much, what's going to happen? Bad things. The system goes out of balance. If we eat a lot of food and we don't expend the energy, if we don't exercise and move our body, we're going to get ginormous. We're going to have health problems. Everything is going to be messed up in our body, and then if our body's messed up, our mind's messed up and the two are linked together. For me, reading is the consumption of information. I won't say knowledge yet. It is just information. Until you tie it to something that's relevant, then it starts to become knowledge, and if it helps people, then it becomes wisdom and things like that, tied with the experience. I'm consuming.
What we call people who consume or gathered too much stuff, we call them hoarders, and it's a psychosis. You're information hoarding at this point, because you're not doing anything with it and it can look on the surface like it's really great, but if you dive deeper, it can be kind of a sickness and an addiction. I think people are addicted to learning, but they're not necessarily learning in the truest sense, so they're just hoarding at this point. What we need to do, like exercise, is we need to exercise by articulation. If I read something, and I think that's pretty awesome, the first chance that I get, I'm going to jump somewhere and tell somebody something about what I've read. Here's an idea from this book. That's the easiest form to do it in an oratory sense. I'm going to speak it, I'm going to articulate it, and if I keep explaining it to more and more people, it's going to transfer from short-term memory to long-term memory, so speaking to me is the easiest way to do this, to reinforce the ideas, and the more ways you can exercise what you've learned, the more likely it is that you will never forget it.
So the next version of that is to draw it, to create a diagram, to do an illustration, something so you're transforming what you've read into something else, and if you can do that, you're going to own it. Now notice, I hadn't mentioned note taking yet. Note taking is important, too, but to me, it registers a little bit lower on ability to retain. If you read a book and you write notes, everybody does that, from grade school on up, you take notes, and notes helps. That's one form, but you notice if we're all geniuses and we took notes and we remembered everything we took a note on, then the world would be totally different. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, taking those notes, it's not a sticky. We want to take notes, we want to turn them into drawings and we want to talk about it, and if we can perform it. If we can talk about a wild drawing about it, it becomes really sticky. Hence, why you see me doing whiteboards, and that's why I like facilitation because I can talk to a group of people to diagram their ideas and their thinking in real time and then draw connections and make symbols and icons and diagrams that people can retain and keep. I'm trying always to make the complex simple. I want to simplify it.
And then now, I could safely purge short-term memory because I've been able to absorb this information. I hope that makes sense. And then the more that I do this, the more likely it is that I'll remember it. I have a notebook. It's a spiral bound notebook, college rule or whatever. I will write the ideas over and over again. Not like when you get in trouble for breaking a rule in school, but every 30th or 40th page, you'll see me write the same idea again. Thoughts on branding, thoughts on personal branding, thoughts on marketing, everything I know about marketing, marketing and social media, content marketing. I'll just keep writing it. Not because I'm trying to punish myself, but because I'll just sit down and say like, "I read something new. Let me try to fold it into the things I already knew," and so I'll write it again, and I'll draw diagrams.
Rahul and Stephanie, you've seen me do this before on pro calls. I will show you my notebook. I'll post pictures from time to time and you'll see, it's like, gosh. Yes, the act of repeating and writing it again and drawing it again does two things, strengthens the relationship, the what is that called? The synaptic nerves in my brain, the neural pathways, tying ideas together, but more importantly, it's forcing me to say it again and again, and therefore, I'm going to get better and faster at saying it in fewer words. It's going to become simpler and more impactful each and every single time I draw it and write it again. That repetition makes it stick. Stephanie, and then to Rahul.

Stephanie:

There is a question on Twitter and I think this may be getting to the answer of it. Jerry Wang asks, what does Chris do to retain and pull out the quotes from thought leaders so easily in his conversations. It establishes so much credibility and expertise.

Chris:

Oh my God. Jerry asking the hard questions. Jerry, I want to tell you a little story. This is circa 2014, 15. I was on YouTube and I was watching a video with Gary Vaynerchuk. He was younger. His hair was different. He looked different. He was speaking at USC and he was speaking so coherently, so fluidly, so quickly that I was thinking, this guy is super human. How's he able to pull facts, figures, names, and quotes out like that, and I thought to myself at that time, there is no way I could do that. That requires a special someone, and Gary Vaynerchuk most definitely is a special someone, but yours truly, people would get mad at me when I say this, I'm a B plus student, A minus, B plus student. I'm like a 3.7, 3.8 GPA. I probably could not get into Stephanie's AP English class. I probably would flunk out of it.

Stephanie:

That is not true.

Chris:

I took zero AP classes in my high school career. I'm just saying, as I watched that, I marveled at his ability to pull from the ether and connect ideas so seamlessly and so quickly. I think Gary may have ADHD because he's able to talk so fast, his brain is moving so quickly, and my brain just moves at normal speed, but as I found out over time, as I read certain books and I'm like, that's a nice idea, and I'll say it and I'll share it, and I'll probably butcher it, but as I say it more and more, and I write it over and over again, and here's the cool thing, I'll remember a quote or a line and I'll remember it incorrectly, but the beautiful thing about Google is this, you just need to be close. It's like a hand grenade. I'll type in X, Y, Z quote, and eventually it'll trace me back to who said it, and that's the cool thing. If I keep searching for it, I'm like, yep, there it is again. I'll share it. There it is again, and I'll create an Instagram carousel, put it in there. I'll tweet it, and eventually just becomes a part of you. That's a repetition thing. I hope that helps.

Stephanie:

Yeah, that's what I was thinking when you mentioned your white boarding. When you are continuously ... I know this from just having taught the same texts for 17 years. I can pull out a quote from Gatsby. I could be reading Gatsby out loud and I don't even need to look at the book anymore, because it's so much, so yes, I agree with Chris as a practicing teacher, just being exposed to those quotes over and over and over again, you'll get them, and then it'll be just no problem at all.

Chris:

Yeah, there's a couple other things I want to tell you about and there's an illusion here. I want to just pull back the curtain a little bit. When you see me do a whiteboard that's live, I just crammed for the test. I really did. I crammed for the test. I know these materials and I know the ideas behind it, but the night before I'll pull out some pithy quotes, some other idea, a Warren Buffet this or whatever, some philosopher that I just found out about the night before, and I'll have it prepared and I'll learn it for the whiteboard, and then afterwards, it's gone. It's gone, baby. Totally gone. And that's the cramming part. So on Clubhouse, if you hear me pull out a quote and it feels totally seamless, it probably is, but if there's a pause, it's probably because I'm on the internet, looking it up.
No lie because I'll butcher the quote, but I know it, so I'll just use the internet. In this way, I'm probably addressing what Daniel Pink writes about in his book or his many books. We are becoming cybernetic beings. Think about it. Currently, and I don't know how long this will be, it's detached from our body. The iPhone connects us, tethers us to the internet, which is basically the sum of human knowledge at this point, and within seconds and milliseconds, I can draw up anything. So I can preserve my brain for higher functions, creativity, imagination, the kinds of things you can look up on the internet, but for the rest of it, it's not so important I memorize everything. That's not the purpose of information or knowledge. It's to be able to connect things. I want to understand the big ideas and the dates, the facts, the figures, the names. They're not as important to me. I'd rather understand the idea than to be a person who can memorize every date and geographical location and proper nouns. I don't know those things. We'll get into some memory tricks later, but I'm not a memory master either.

Rahul:

When you're pulling out these ideas, is that what you're using to create your stories as well?

Chris:

What do you mean?

Rahul:

You shared a lot of personal stories to connect with whatever the topic is. Are you taking some of these ideas that you're learning, and when you're saying, how does this apply to me, are you taking that and creating it into a story in order to apply it to yourself? What has happened in my life that this connect with this idea?

Chris:

Oh, I think that could be an effective way. I don't typically do that. When I'm reading, I want it to be the purity of the words and the author's intention, and I find that my wife does this. When I'll say, "Hey honey, there's this idea," and I start telling her the idea and she goes, "Oh, that's like this. That's like this other thing that's happened." That's a very natural thing, to bridge what we don't know with what we know, but if the bridge and the analogy and the metaphor is not correct and then your memory of it becomes corrupt. We're both ESL, but she came to the United States in college and not when she was three years old, is when I came to U.S. And so, sometimes she'll say, "What does this word mean?" and if I really know it, I'm confident, I'll tell her. And then she goes, "Oh, it's like this." I'm like, "No, no. I literally just told you what it meant, so just try to remember those words to define this term," because her instinct is to pull it to something that she knows, and it's very effective to remember, but then if the analogy is incorrect, then you're going to have a slightly incorrect definition and you'll use it incorrectly.

Rahul:

Yeah, I do that. That makes so much sense now.

Chris:

Yeah, they're funny stories with ESL people. Hilarious stories where they use a common phrase or expression in the wrong way, and it means something totally different. I won't say it because it'll embarrass everybody, but there's some funny ones with my uncles, with my parents, even with my wife, a story for another time. I try to read it in the purity of what it is that is being said and I do the best that I can to quiet the voices in my head. Now, in terms of my personal stories, now we have a catalog of personal stories. We're walking personal story makers. Meaning makers, we love stories and narrative. It's just how we're all wired. The trick here is, when there's a problem, are you able to pull a story that's relevant to their problem that has a learning outcome, and that's always the tricky part.
For me, if you want to be a better storyteller using your personal stories that are rich, that are relevant to what's going on, that your ability to record the moment in real time will impact your ability to recall it after the fact. Now, I want to share a little personal story here. See how I just did that? I'm sitting around with Ricky and Jonah and we're brainstorming the night before a whiteboard session, and I asked him a very simple question, something like, "What words would you use to determine how to build trust in a prospective client?" And they came up with two or three words and they kept repeating themselves. It's almost different versions of this exact same word. And I'm like, "Is that it?" I'm used to brainstorming. I could just create a really long list.
And they're like, "Chris, we're stuck, man. We're stuck." I said, "Okay, how about this word? And how about this word?" The list quadruples in a few minutes. I said, "Timeout boys. Here's the thing. When you have a finite vocabulary, your ability to describe what you've experienced is also finite. Words and memory are tied together." If you only have four crayons to illustrate whatever. You want to draw the rainforest, the Amazon rainforest, and you only have four crayons, the fidelity of your rendering of the Amazon rainforest with crude crayons, like four colors, relatively low, but if I gave you a box of 3000 colors, I'm pretty sure the fidelity and the representation of the rainforest is going to be drastically different than the person who has four crayons. To me, I would describe to them, "You guys are like a four crayon vocabulary person." What we have to do is we have to increase our vocabulary. We have to become word smart and learn more words so that we can be more nuanced as to how we record the events in our lives.
Let's say for example, it's like this Clubhouse call. I'm recording this at 44.1 kilohertz, I believe. High fidelity, but if I were to record this with some jank microphone and analog device and transferred to digital, back to analog, a couple of times, the fidelity is going to be really scratchy. It's going to be really compressed and it's going to be distorted. Words are like that. They allow us to record and transmit thought. The first thing is to increase your vocabulary, increase the crayons, so you can record the event more vividly. Just like yesterday, Rahul, when we were talking about Porsche and I was asking you about, what is it about this? I know you had a migraine, and there was a lot of things going on, and then as soon as I said a certain word, it kind of made you unstuck and you opened up, and now you can see it. That's me. It's the vocabulary, the words, and I have a finite vocabulary, but I'm able to record things differently so I can recall them later on. I hope that helped.

Rahul:

Yeah, that's great. Do we want to maybe go to someone who's up here to ask a question or you want me to ask my next question?

Chris:

Let's do this. Let's ping pong back and forth. Let's get somebody else. Let's move on to Jennifer. Jennifer, do you have a question or comment?

Jennifer:

Yeah, I do. Hi. Long time listener, first-time caller, and ...

Chris:

Welcome.

Jennifer:

Nice to meet you, Chris, and Stephanie and Rahul and everyone. I wanted to bring up ... I completely agree with you, Chris, that remembering the idea is much more important than the details, and for me, I remember a lot of things and I can remember for a very long time, and I've thought a lot about how I managed to remember things so well and so exactly, and I think a lot of it has to do with that whenever I learn something new, I figure out how it relates to things I already know, and I really build it into my holistic view of everything, and with how the brain works, the more connections you make to the memory, the more solid it is.
If you're making connections between different things that you're learning all the time, then that memory becomes really solid, and it becomes also much easier to recall just by tapping into related topics. As I mentioned in my profile, too, I have an Eidetic memory, so it really helps me especially with images or just different situations. I remember them so well. So if I could connect stuff to images in my brain, then that also really, really helps with having it be really, really solid. I think finding some contexts that you can put things you're learning into can really, really help with recalling it.

Chris:

Yes. If you can make a game with the words and the ideas, you deepen those hooks, and that's what we're trying to do. They're referred to sometimes as mnemonics. I believe that's the proper use of the term. Things that are rhyme, things that you attach and create a crazy story for. I'll give you an example of this. In high school, we had to learn vocabulary, not only for English class, but also for SATs, and I would make up little stories and the crazier, the story, the more it's going to stick. The word abscond means to run and hide, to run away and hide. Abscond is such a weird word. It's not used in normal everyday language, and the way I was able to remember that back from high school. What the heck am I? I'm 49 years old. So, this is more than 30 years, maybe 33 years ago.
I can still remember this because I told myself this little story. Abscond sounds like Abe's gone. Well, where did Abe go? He ran and hid. So, abscond becomes very easy, and if you remember that little story, you'll never forget that again. So, when you have a fancy Montblanc pen and it's missing, you might say who's absconded with my pen? And then usage then further cements the memory. I have a whole bunch of words, like chicanery, acrid, abnegate, just words that you just don't use, because I created a whole story in my mind. Alacrity, all my SAT words coming back to haunt me. Stephanie?

Stephanie:

It's funny. I'm also of an older generation, but the more recent SAT prep vocabulary books, they're all pneumonics. Each word has some sort of little story like that, so I think they stole your idea, Chris.

Chris:

Well, we stole it from the universe. Stephanie, will you do me a favor?

Stephanie:

Yeah.

Chris:

Tell me later after, do you know the name of the book right now? Do you know the name of the book?

Stephanie:

I can look it up right now.

Chris:

Will you look it up?

Stephanie:

For sure.

Chris:

It doesn't have to be right now. I want that book. I want it for my son. Yeah. So the crazier the story that you develop, and story happens to be one of the triggers of memory. It's emotion, things that are visual, and story. If it's an emotional visual story, my goodness, you will not forget that. Strong emotion helps for us to remember. Because if I asked you, think back to your earliest happiest childhood memory, you will be able to do it. It's all the other stuff that disappears.

Speaker 1:

Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back.

Speaker 2:

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Speaker 1:

Welcome back to our conversation.

Chris:

Rahul, back to you.

Rahul:

Okay. I guess the next question you had mentioned about taking notes and that's really the starting point of everything. When you're reading, when are you pausing? What are you looking for? When are you pausing and taking a note down?

Chris:

Okay, as I mentioned, I read with two instruments in my hand, and a third. One is a bookmark, two is a pen, a ballpoint pen, and the third is a highlighter. I read with the caps on, meaning I don't uncap. The cap is still on the pen, and I'll just use that to just move through, or my finger, and I'll just go real fast. And if I hit an idea, I'm like, whoa, this is profound. I love this, the phrasing, that story, that reference, a phrase in Latin, just great. I'm going to whip out the highlighter and the highlighters, just say of all the text that I write on this page, these words and the combination matter. Generally speaking, I highlight the words and I skip all the meaningless words, so it'll sound like Bob killed cat. Let's just say that's what it is. That's dumb, but there's a lot of words in between, but they're insignificant. I'm already reducing down a paragraph or sentences into the fewest number of words, because the simpler it is, the more likely it is, I'm going to remember it. That's what I'll do there.
I'm not taking any notes. I don't take active notes. I'll write in the margins. Additional ideas, I'll say, oh, this is the exact opposite of this other author, and I'll talk about that in a second. If you read multiple books on the same subject, very rare that everybody's going to agree on everything. In fact, most people who write a book, have read the other books and they disagree with something or they want to add to the cannon, so then they have an idea that's conflicting. I'll give you an example of that. Chris Voss, Blair Enns, different ideas about negotiation and price. Blair says, "Always talk about the money upfront because you're going to anchor, and if you don't anchor first, the other person is going to anchor and you're going to be stuck on their number."
Chris Voss, on the other hand says, "Do not talk about the price because oftentimes you shortchange yourself. If you're new in an industry and you don't know what you're doing, and you walk in there," and he has this famous story about a writer. I'm forgetting the person's name right now, and they come to Hollywood thinking they're going to negotiate and be hard ball and he pushes really hard and he says, "This is my day rate for writing," and then the producer and the director look at each other like, you know what? We need to hire you an agent to negotiate because this is terrible. What you think is your best price is lower than what we were expecting to pay. He cautions people who are new into a field and industry to don't say the price first, because you'll sell yourself short. I think this is why so many people are reluctant to talk about price first. Now, luckily in this story, I think it's Raymond Chandler. I'm not sure the famous writer. I might've just made that name up. They took mercy on this person's soul because they wanted to have a longterm rate relationship with them. So, then they hired an agent to negotiate against themselves and that's a really upstanding person. Those are two conflicting ideas. One says, say it early, one says, say it late. I want to know these two things because I want to know.

Chris:

... once they say it late. So I want to know these two things, I want to know where I fit in here. So I read Blair's book first, and then I was reading Chris Foss' book and that's where I put an asterisk. And then I wrote in the margins, "When do you want to speak about money first? Under what conditions?" And so that became a prompt.
And in fact, when I do my pricing workshop, I ask the attendees that very question, "when do you want to speak about budget early? And when do you want to speak about it late?" And then the rest of the conversation's going to take care of itself. I can have an hour long debate that's meaningful, that's deep in learning and lessons, just by that one question. So those are the only notes that I'm taking. Make sense? Okay.
Now, at this point in time, I want to refer to another book. I have not finished reading this book. In fact, I barely cracked it open. But I understand it is the go-to resource. And the book is called How to Read. If we're going to talk about getting more from what you read, there's a book that's literally called How to Read. And it's written by Mortimer J. Adler.
And I'm going to paraphrase some ideas from the book that I have not read. And we'll talk about that later. Wait a minute, how do you know about an idea that you didn't read? Well, there's this thing called the internet. So there are four levels to reading: elementary reading, inspectional reading, analytical reading, instant topical reading. So let's get into it. Okay?
Level one: the elementary reading. This is what you learned in grade school. The rules of grammar. How to sound things out. Basically, just how to read. And you all ... if you're listening to this call ... already know how to do this.
Level two: inspectional reading. This is the systematic skimming by reading the preface, the table of contents, the index, the inside jacket, to get a broad idea of what you're going to read. This is advisable to do, by the way. And then the second part to that is superficial reading, when you just read, you don't ponder the argument, you don't look things up, you're just pushing through to get it done. You don't write in the margins. And this, I would put together as some general advice. Like speed reading, just get through it, finish reading the whole thing.
Now we're getting deeper. The third level is analytical reading. This is thorough reading. This is the process to understand what you read to engage your mind and dig in, the comparison to your life, to your stories, to ponder and think, to debate it within yourself. This is where you comment in the margins, just like I had said, and you connect ideas, you translate jargon and you really get into the critical thinking. The last level reading, which is kind of like where I like to see myself. And I think I am now is syntopical topical reading. It's a fancy word. Syntopical reading.
It means basically you read many books on the same subject to compare and contrast ideas and arguments. And the goal is not to achieve an overall understanding of any book. But to understand the subject and develop a deep fluency. You want to identify field knowledge gaps. And the intention here is to form an intelligent opinion. And that's all I have. I just want to have a formed opinion about stuff. And when I read a new book that challenges my formed opinion, I would change my mind.
It'll be just like that. So the four levels of reading elementary reading, inspectional reading, analytical reading, syntopical reading. Now it's not to say that you must choose one. I believe they're all compounded. Of course, you have to learn how to read first in order for you to retain anything. So my tip for everyone is to read a book three ways, read a book three times. So if you really want to know what this book is all about, read it three times. So the first is that that superficial inspectional reading, right? Read the table of contents, get an understanding the rough outline, the author's position and the overview, and just skim really quickly. And then level two, the second time you read it is the speed read. The goal is just to finish the book. So for some of us speed reading is a strange concept.
It's not possible. Just read the first sentence of each paragraph. And if you want read the intro chapter and the first chapter and the last chapter, that's usually where all the ideas are. The first chapter is the big thesis, the big idea. And then the last chapter tells you how it's like the final thoughts on something. And the last way is to read the whole book again. Now you have a pretty good idea as to what the heck you're reading, what the important points are and the author's perspective on the subject matter. That sounds like a whole lot of reading, but just keep in mind the first two, the speed read and just the skimming part. It doesn't take very long. It'll take you less than an hour. That's the whole point. And you could time box it too. The super overview reading table contents, give yourself five minutes.
It shouldn't take more than that. And the speed read, give yourself 40 minutes and then read. Now, I don't do this. I'm just telling you what best practices are. I just read the whole book and I'm sitting there making notes and reflecting on other things I've read because I got one shot at this, this is the process that works for me. I will read the table of content I'll skim around, and then I'll dig in. Okay. Now reading is just one form of being able to process information. The other form is to use an audio book. And a lot of people like audio books. I don't like them, you know why? Because I'm a visual person. I'll be in the car, listening to these things and I'll either fall asleep or I wouldn't even be able to tell you one idea.
I need to see the words. And especially for me like spelling, because English is such a strange language to begin with. Even if you're a native speaker, you hear a word and I'm like, what? I can't even say that word, but if I look at the word and I see the letters connected together, I'll be able to pronounce it correctly. But if I can't see the words, it comes out of my mouth the wrong way. Right. Okay. Let's talk to somebody else. We brought up Amy Lynn. Amy, you have a comment or a question then we're going to go back to Rahul and Stephanie.

Amy Lynn:

Yes. Thank you. First of all, I have a question when it comes to your attribution, sometimes I'll read something or I learn something and then later want to reference it. But I don't remember where I heard it and you know, it wasn't my original idea. So I kind of get hung up on that. And I'm wondering what you do for that. And it's not necessarily a quote that I can just Google.

Chris:

Yes. So there's a couple of ways and it gets into intentionality, right? First of all, I don't think there's such a thing as original idea. They're just repackaging of other ideas. And I'm pretty sure if we go back to the beginning of time, we look at some of the seminal books, the thoughts on humanity philosophy, whatever it is, the original thoughts. And that was it. And they're only because they're the first ones to document it. And so there's this idea like, do we all have original thoughts? I don't think so. So there usually isn't a problem for me. If you're in the academic literary world, it matters a lot and this is where it gets into your intentionality, right? So if you share an idea and you're like, I can't remember where I got this from. It could be from this author of that book.
You've kind of are stating that I'm not telling you this is my thought, but a thought I'd like to share with you. And even like Blair who's a prolific reader. He'll say like, I can't remember, because I want to give proper attribution. It's either this person or that person he doesn't know. And if you're writing a book or a white paper, something where you're supposed to be the author and the expert, you're going to want to cite your sources. And that's just through research. Where intentionality comes into place there are other people, however, who deliberately pool from other people's writings and do not attribute at all, do not cite sources because they're insecure. And I'm just going to say it like that. It sounds like plagiarism, but it's really through insecurity because they think if I credit my sources, then people will look at me like I'm a bozo.
I'll tell you the opposite happens when you get busted on it, you for sure will look like a bozo. And so this happens a lot. This happens to me. I'm the perpetrator of this. And I'm also on the opposite end of this. So this is what happens, right? If you know a little bit about me, you'll see Instagram posts. I do my best to cite everybody. I'm not perfect. But then what some people will do is they'll take the exact same posts, literally word for word, including the caption and they'll take the same ideas of the images. And they'll just regurgitate the exact same thing again, except for they do one critical thing. They remove all the references and the citations off, including me assembling these words and these images together. And it's terrible. And when they get called out on it, you know what they say?
And they don't usually get called out on it by me. Somebody will say something like, yo dude, this is a rip off. And they're like, well, I was inspired by this person. That is not inspired by. Maybe you need to look up the word inspired. That's just called plagiarism. Is taking work without crediting on purpose. And we see this happen all the time in music, in literature, in art, we see it everywhere. So it just comes down to your intention. And if your intention is to do the right thing, chances are people forgive you. Nobody is perfect. Nobody can cite everything all the time. Amy that's my 2 cents.

Amy Lynn:

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Chris:

Okay. Rahul back to you or to Stephanie.

Stephanie:

Okay. So just something that just came to my mind is Dr. Sandra Kaplan out of USC, came up with these icons that I use with my students to help them notate their reading. And so if you're, if this works for some students, it does not work for other students. I really like to give my students a lot of different tools. So one of the tools that I give them is the depth and complexity icon chart. And so they're looking for things like trends, unanswered questions that they have. They're noting a multiple perspectives. So there's these different visual cues that they can write in their text and along with, so those are called the icons of depth and complexity from Sandra Kaplan. And she also came up with like the next level of those it's called content imperatives.
That's where you're seeing parallels. You're seeing a paradox. It's just a visual way for my students to notate their work in a more meaningful way than just circling something or underlining something, which that works really well for some students. But some students, they want to be able to have some of, more of a concrete visual to refer back to. So if you are a visual person and you want visual clues to reference back to, I would look into those. They're fairly simple to understand they were created for gifted and talented elementary school students.

Chris:

All right. Why don't we do this, Rahul did you want to say something?

Rahul:

No, I have a thought that sort of, still marinating. So why don't you go ahead?

Chris:

Okay. Why don't we do this? Let's move on to Sauna. Sauna what's your question or comment?

Sauna:

Hi Chris. I had more of something to share, but I think you had already shared it. It was the book by Mortimer J. Adler. And I can speak a little bit about syntopical reading because that's right now exactly what I'm trying to do. Syntopical reading is all about not only trying to understand a book, but it's more so about trying to understand a whole given topic or a subject. And so you're reading your comparative reading around many different books around one subject, partly the way that he processes books. And you're explaining how you read. It's very similar to how the probably best practices would be to start reading. But if you want to do some topical reading, you'd have to pick one subject and do read like all the books on that that you can so that you get a really deep fluency upon that topic.
And then I wanted to say one thing about vandalism of books, and then one thing on note taking or note making, I have a reference or resource for everyone here, if they're interested. So the story that you were bringing up about somebody who said, oh, you're vandalizing books is not vandalism at all. It's actually one of the most valuable of things that not only you can do for yourself, but for other people. I've had this vision for a very long time to share the books that I have with people, with my writings in them. Can't do it now because of COVID. But it was something that I did prior when I was living near people that I knew. And when you were talking about the story that you don't share your books with anyone, Chris, that you are very particular about that, it reminded me of my grandfather, who is very impeccable in his notes and his marginality and his highlighting that after he passed the books that he now has my cousin and I, we own them now.
They stay in one location at my uncle's house, but they're available for us to go to and we would not, he was a syntopical reader. We would not have the subject matter and knowledge unless I don't think we would've even cared about those topics unless my grandfather really did. And we got curious because he did and we got to learn even more because of his annotations and his highlights. And so it's a really big thing that I think it makes a book even more valuable, a personal book like you were saying, makes it even that much more valuable if you can get that personal book from somebody else. And if they're very good at it, like it seems like you are. And then the last thing that I have is the resource for note making. So I agree with you that note taking is kind of dead.
It's absolutely like a hell hole. And for people who are really avid note takers are struggling with being able to find use out of them over a long period of time. I took a workshop last year that really helped me out with it. And he's a small influencer on YouTube and you can look him up. He's Nick Milo. And he talks all about note making. I'm really glad to call him my friend and the people that we, the community there is really great, because they're all about trying to end this ridiculous cycle of endless note, taking seeming that you're actually learning something or taking something or digesting something when it's just for sake of writing something down just to make your dopamine brain happy.
The thing that's really going to last with you is the stuff that Mortimer J. Adler talks about in the end, which is more about this idea of being interpretive and criticizing the book so that you can understand the underlying themes because all books and ideas that are out there that are published have agendas. And it's up to you as the reader to be remain very conscious and vigilant of what that is so that you can develop what is actually knowledge, knowledge at that point lasts forever. So that's the last thing I have to say.

Chris:

Thank you very much. Thank you. Oh, I all want to say a couple things in there, but you were on your roll. So I, now I've lost it. Unfortunately, I should have taken a note when you're saying it.

Sauna:

I'm sorry. I wish I knew what you were going to say.

Chris:

No, that's not your fault. It's my fault. I thought you were taking a breath. So I took a breath and it was about to jump in. Okay. So what do we want to go with this conversation role?

Rahul:

I'm wondering if there's, is there something that an exercise that we can maybe do, let's just say an in to summarize an entire book or to take an idea from an entire book, might for some people be some practice and take some time, how can we maybe do it from a chapter? Like what steps can we do to make sure that we're going the right way with taking notes the right way?

Chris:

Yeah. I just want to say there's no such thing as the right or wrong way. There's just your way. And whatever way works for you is the right way, right? Because maybe your intention isn't to read to then whiteboard session or to host a clubhouse call, but it's just for personal fulfillment, happiness, and just the expansion of your mind, or because you're just curious about things. I think that's really important to note. So I think one of the things that was a big transformative moment for me was when I learned to love reading. Just when I learned to love sales and pitching and everything else, and a big change happened internally and externally. And so I said before I had negative emotions about reading. It always felt like a chore. It always felt like it was for someone else. And not for me. I love reading comic books and science fiction and fantasy, but then it felt like I'm a really contributing to myself in this way.
And so all these other books became really boring. It's not until later on that, I feel like, gosh, I'd like to fill some knowledge gaps. And like I've said many times before I went to public high school in America and I went to an art design school. And so my knowledge of things is pretty finite. And so I'm making up for lost time now. So I really do enjoy reading and it's one of these things I don't want to live forever, but if I could live forever, it's just mostly because I want to read more. I just want to learn more. And I also do want to say this thing for everybody that's out there. I still find it quite magical. The experience, this idea of language and words, because think about it for a second Rahul. You and I did not grow up together.
There's an age gap. There's a cultural gap. You're Canadian, I'm American, but how is it that I can translate abstract thoughts into words into our microphone should across internet and out pop on the other end, these words yet you understand them. If I say I'm jealous, like you know what that feeling is like. If I say that I'm mad or I'm angry or I'm whatever the word is, I'm anxious. You know. So reading to me is quite literally reading someone's mind and that's just like, what the hell? You know? Like it's one of those super special powers of, I could just look at you and read your mind. But if your mind was just words on a page, I am now literally reading your mind. It's crazy. And I just sometimes stop reading. I'm like, holy crap, this person's been dead for a couple hundred years.
And through history and through time, it's almost as if they're sitting next to me, it's almost as if we're having this conversation. So I am just in love with reading now. I think it's magical. And I want you to tell yourself that story, because I also want you to love reading pound for pound dollar for dollar. It's really hard to beat the value you get from a book and the time that you spend. And so I came upon this idea that we're all looking to be seen as an authority, a subject matter expert in the field, right? Whether it be about design, typography, branding, marketing, sales, whatever it is. And so I have this idea it's called a five on one, read five books on one subject, read five books on one subject from different authors, different points of view. I'm not saying that you're going to become an expert, but you'll have a freaking really informed opinion at the end of that.
So Rahul you're a designer, right? And you do identity systems. I don't mean to put you on the spot but I'm going to ask you this question and I think I know the answer. Hopefully you'll play it along. Have you read five books on identity design?

Rahul:

No.

Chris:

Have you read five books on typography?

Rahul:

No.

Chris:

So here's the thing neither have I, but I have read five books on sales. I've read five books on marketing. I'm reading more and more about the things that I want to be known for. And so it's quite interesting now as I keep poking around the dark, right? So I'm starting to feel a little bit more confident about the things I speak about because I'm back filling all the knowledge and here's the crazy cool thing.
Oftentimes people say, Chris, you need to read this book because it's exactly like the way you think. Like Matthew had said Chris read Ryan Holiday's book the Obstacles. The way. I feel like is exactly you it's stoicism. It's everything there. And my first reaction it's a poor reaction is why would I want to read a book that already tells me what it is that I know? And I've come to accept this and to embrace it. And it's very different. Why would I want to already reinforce what it is I know. Because I know things based on intuition experience and just guessing. But when I read a book that's well researched, thought out and arguments are made in certain case studies and examples are listed. Now I know how to further defend or to alter or adjust what it is I'm thinking. So now instead of saying, nah, I don't want to read that. If it's the same thing that I'm thinking, I will read it and Matthew is correct. Sure enough. I read his book. I'm like damn it. It is exactly the way I think. And then I trip out on other things. I want to say this to everybody who thinks I trip out easily. I don't do drugs. I've never have, but I do trip out on these ideas. Okay. Back to you Rahul.

Rahul:

I was just going to say, when you read, five different books on one subject, even two. Do you ever find yourself like your ideologies are challenged? Like how do you know? Especially when you're just learning, right? Like, oh, I just learned this from this person. And now this person's saying something else, what is it?

Chris:

You know what? That's amazing because somebody DM'd me this before, maybe last night about Chris, I'm reading this book and it's challenging everything I think. And then I think as a waste of time. I said, my friend, we are reading and not to reinforce what we think we're reading to challenge our thinking. So I think if you pick up five books and they literally say the exact same thing, pick five different books, the whole point is for these authors, these experts, these researchers, these thought leaders to argue with you about what it is that you think. And so after the dust has settled, you get to decide I'm 20%, this 5% that, and then I'm a hundred percent this other thing. I want books to argue on the same subject and have different points of view. Because I forget who said it, I think maybe with Sauna or somebody before Sauna maybe with Amy, maybe Stephanie, all authors have an agenda, whatever it might be.
And all authors are telling you the story from their point of view, whether it's a man, a woman, young or old or whatever researcher, practitioner, of course it's going to reflect their worldview. So I want it to be different. Like I said, I recommend three books on negotiation, right. Or pricing, and then it'd be probably win without pitching manifest. So it'd probably be Chris Vas' book. Never split the difference in Socratic selling and start with no. And there's a whole bunch of other books out there that have not read yet, but I will. I've read a couple of books on pricing, value based pricing. And then I form my own opinion. So you're supposed to be challenged. Otherwise what's the point? That's why my reaction was I don't want to read a book I already know. It'd just be said in fancier words.

Stephanie:

Chris, can I read you something real quick?

Chris:

Yes, of course.

Stephanie:

So it's just, as soon as you said, like the magic of words and sitting in your looking into someone's thoughts, like these people have been dead for a while. I just have to pull a real quick quote from something that I taught on Friday. It's from Yoshida Kenko from reading and writing and he writes "to sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations, such as a pleasure beyond compare." And that just reminded me of what you just said. Sorry. It says men and not men and women, but you guys get the point.

Chris:

People.

Stephanie:

Yeah. People, you get the drift, but-

Chris:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

Just something that, struck me as, whoa. I just taught that on Friday.

Chris:

That was so beautifully said, this is my herbal essence moment right there. It really is. I'm like, somebody else feels the exact same way. Look, I get tingly inside. I know you guys are going to be like you nerd, I'm having a nerdgasm. Really. I tell you, I sit there. I'm like, oh my God, son or wife come here. I need to share this thing with you. Can you believe it through time and geography, this idea is so salient to me right now. I need to share this with you. And so I trip over mind bombs all the time. And when they explode, I'm like, I need to share this with another human right now. And when the human has an expression of emotion, elation, joy, whatever it is that they have that eureka moment that epiphany, it makes me so happy.
I'm like, oh my God, I shared with you something in my little pea brain. And that your mind shifted in that moment. Woo. Love it. Let me go read something else. So there's this ratio of consumption to doing that we have to find our own and balance. Because if you over consume, you know what happens, things get out of balance and you don't want that. Okay. Let's move on to Eric. Eric. I think you are like a design thinking person, right? Eric, you and I have been exchanging messages on LinkedIn.

Eric:

Yes, that's correct.

Chris:

Yes. Okay. I remember your profile. This is the beauty. When you have a consistent profile picture, I will remember you. And if you change it on each platform, I have no idea who you are. So Eric, what are your thoughts on this?

Eric:

Well, I wanted to tap in on something Rahul said but I want to make sure I understood it. was the question Rahul about synthesizing what you've just learned per chapter?

Rahul:

Yeah. Just if you want to take an exercise. Yeah, exactly.

Eric:

Yeah. One of the things that I've learned from my time in the design thinking space is a method they call rose thorn bud, which is essence red is the rose part or a sticky note that could be pink. That could be all the good things that you like about that chapter, the thorn or all the negative things or things that you might not connect with. And the bud is where I think what Chris tapped into is this doesn't quite answer the question for me. I might have to pick up another book. And I typically do that at the end of each chapter. It doesn't have to be formal like sticky notes, but rather than using a highlighter I'll put a three by five card and a Sharpie and I'll just jot those components down about the chapter.

Chris:

Excellent. Thanks, Eric. I've not heard of rose thorn bud before. You know a lot of authors, they write summaries to their own chapters at the end of it. So even if you read it, you're like, huh? There it is again, many authors do that. Not all.

Rahul:

Thanks Eric.

Eric:

Oh, thank you. And lastly, I just wanted to ask Chris when you do have those moments and you're sharing it with your family, do you have someone other than your immediate family that you could just reach out and go I don't know, like Anna Lee, for example, Anna Lee, I just read of this particular chapter. Did you get the same take or do you have someone where you can debate or converse around those ideas?

Chris:

I'm glad you asked that question. Very good question. Eric, you reminded me to talk about something that I just totally forgot about. Okay. I think one of my secrets is that I have a whole lot of people I can talk to. And I talk to a lot of people. I talk to my wife, I talk to my son, but I talk to strangers and friends on the internet all the time. And I have my go-to crew or I'll text them. I'll message them something. And like, if I'm driving, I'm thinking, I'll just say, "Hey, I got to share something with you right now, sit down, hear this thing, be ready for this thing." And then I'll share with them. And then we push it around. Right? And so my wife who constantly says, oh my God, I'm losing my memory, honey.
I'm like, that's funny. And not funny, like I'm laughing with you, but I have the exact opposite. Like I'm remembering more things as I'm getting older, not facts and figures, but I'm uncovering more of my past. It's kind of crazy. Another story another time. But I said it's because honey, you don't have the opportunity to practice and share what you've learned. She has notebooks filled with the most beautiful handwritten notes and diagrams and drawings because she's the designer and artist herself. And I said, you need to express this to somewhere to someone. And so she's starting to write poetry. She's starting to write little plays and skits for people to perform. Her friends in her Christian support group. It's probably not a support group.
Bible study, let me rephrase. Right. And so, and then she creates costumes and characters and lines of dialogue. And so I know this. She will never forget those everything else. She probably would not remember. And so one of my excuses to have so many conversations with people via livestream, AMAs, just my prolific content creation. I'm just journaling in public. I'm just sharing in real time with people as I learn it, mostly to help people partly selfishly. So I can remember it. That's all. So great question, Eric.

Stephanie:

Can I add something as well? One of my beliefs as a teacher is, you can't write it unless you can say it. So I hold either philosophical, Socratic-

Stephanie:

Unless you can say it. So I hold either philosophical, Socratic discussions of some kind, can't really right now because of restrictions, but once a week in my AP classes, and then I have my students, right? So being able to talk out thoughts with others, I always feel like it's just a natural part of the process of absorbing the information. And not just retaining the information, but being able to express your own perspectives on the information.

Chris:

So, Eric, did you want to comment back or reflection or other questions?

Eric:

Yeah. No, I feel like loony tunes, because I go and talk to myself after I read something.

Chris:

That works.

Eric:

I literally present. Yeah. I do like a fake keynote or a fake Ted talk so that I can hear it out loud. But no, thank you both for the points.

Chris:

Do you have like, do you catch phrase and you talk with your hands just like as if you are in front of the crowd?

Eric:

Yeah. One of my catch phrases is, "There are no bad ideas, just priorities." And I've had one of my students challenge me. They said, "Well, look, Eric, if I can push a button and a gremlin jumps out, I want them to serve me coffee." And I say, "Well, that's, that's actually not a bad idea. If you think about it, just pull out your iPhone, push Uber eats and you get coffee or food delivered. Now you might not want to call driver a gremlin." But I get people to unpack their ideas and just let them be free to say wild things.

Chris:

Nice. I love that.

Eric:

Yeah.

Chris:

So I have a thought connected to this. There's a reason why I love reading, talking and teaching. I have a company that makes money based on this, and I am also... I profit from this practice. So there's added levels of incentive here. And let me just talk about profit for a second. It's not always measured in dollars and cents. I'm on clubhouse. This is my third call for today. And the first two calls, I average over 80 new followers per call. So I'm profiting there. So my follower account is growing and hopefully as people continue to tune in, check me out, they're like, "Hey, these calls are interesting. I might tell a friend and I might share it on social media," which I hope that they do. And so then on other platforms, my influence is growing.
Okay. And then you sit back and you're like, "Well what do followers matter? These are all vanity metrics. And we shouldn't reduce society down to these things." Well, until you convince society that these things don't matter, then I'll believe you. But I got to tell you something. I mean, I continue to be surprised at the level of reach that I have, and the doors that it continues to open for me on a day to day basis, it will freak you out. It freaks me out and this is my life. So an organization that I didn't know knew me, or even knew that existed on this planet, reaches out and says, "Hey, we would like to do something with you." And so eventually that authority in the audience, it does pay you back. It does take some time, but if you stick with it, it'll happen.
I give you an example. I'm talking to an organization, a multi-billion dollar corporation, and they're bringing me in to do a masterclass, keynote talks, things like that to create content with them. And it appears that the CEO knows who we are, who I am. And so, I can't get a better in than to be connected somehow to the CEO. And then the marketing team, they know about us and what it is that I'm doing. So when we get on the phone, instead of being adversarial, they feel like they know me and they're soft fans in air quotes. So we're having a good old time. And this is the first time we talk and this is what's happening. So Eric, the one thing I would say to you is when you're walking around pontificating and doing a fake Ted talk is don't make it fake and just record it.
Jump on clubhouse, to do a call, translate your thoughts into a recorder, and then transcribe that and be a content creator. Make your ideas and your homework and your hobbies work for you. This is all about the ikigai, right? If you can make the things that you love into a thing that pays you well, that contributes to your overall life purpose. My God, you're just going hyper speed. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. I often joke, if I could have been a professional skateboarder or a comic book artist, and it paid me a ton of money, I would've done that. But I'm not good enough on either. So I'm going to have to use my mouth. I'm going to have to use these words, these ideas, and chain them together to help people. And so everybody here, who's a little reluctant to do one thing or the other.
And you'll often dismiss it as, Well, I don't have this. I don't have that." So you live in your constraints versus the opportunity. You haven't yet found the opportunity inside the obstacle. You already today possess all the tools that you need to be able to be a prolific content creator. You yet do not possess the minds set to do it. This call was not about how to do social media and content marketing. I'm sorry. I drifted. I'll pull it back, but you have your phone. You can speak to your phone and then Siri will translate all of it to text for you. You can use apps and things to help you. You already have a camera, a microphone, it's all built into your phone. You have a distribution platform inside your phone and you could do all of this. The real question is why do you continue to let your constraints be the thing that holds you back from getting what you want in this lifetime? Probably a horrible way to end our call. So we won't end it there. Ashley, what's on your mind friend?

Ashley:

Hey, well, I was going back to some things that we've been talking about that I think are just... I have two ideas of how I help myself retain information while I'm reading a book. Right? And I ask myself, and I do it in practice, is I try to draw a slide about it. So if there's a concept that usually works for rational things, it's just, okay, can I write it? Could I write a deck about this? Could I bust this down into a Keynote slide? Because, it's the thing that I know the most, right? It's the way that my brain busts the information down. And it could work for a lot of people because PowerPoint's kind of a universal design tool.

Chris:

Yes. You mean Keynote, but yes. Keep going.

Ashley:

Keynote and PowerPoint, both. But if you take those ideas that you're learning, right? And put them down into a square, I just write it. I put like a little mini 16, 9 slide. You could say at the top of my notebook. And I illustrate that idea out. And then along the same line is I learned this piece in therapy and it's been absolutely incredible. It goes along the lines of neuroplasticity of, if there's something that sort of affects you when you're reading, but you still want to take a note, right? Or it's something that you really want to hammer in, write it with your dominant hand and it with your nondominant hand and see how it retains the information. And it's brilliant.

Chris:

Love it.

Ashley:

If you can write a PowerPoint slide, then you can write a PowerPoint deck, right? If you can take an entire book, or if you can take five books, right? I'm trying to do it right now. Can you take all the things that you've learned and write a deck about it? And to me, that's the key of your... You're learning about teaching. You're learning about speaking. You're learning about distilling information. You don't have to design it and make it pretty, but try that and see if it'll help. This is Ashley, I'm done speaking.

Chris:

Thank you, Ashley. So here's the challenge I'm going to amplify out to every single person who's still here, who's listening to this. I would love for you to take a Sharpie and draw a diagram or something of one thing that you learned. One action that you want to take today. If you want to practice this game of memory and committing things to your mind and learning, and you want to be a hyper learner, make one diagram, you could use your iPhone. You can use marker, whatever it is, and then share it on social media and tag us on it. I'd love to see your ideas. So translate. Don't just write the notes, translate into something that has meaning to you. When I was talking to Annalee about the long term strategy, like the pizza, and maybe somebody drew a pizza and a wedge, and that's a strategy.
And then the tactic is, we're going to invite 10 friends over and eat the pizza, right? So I'm going to make it something that's sticky. And the crazier, the story that you tell, the more likely it is to be memorable. And you will not forget. Stephanie wanted to say something, but I wanted to mention something really quickly. I was watching Sherlock Holmes, the BBC series with my wife's favorite, Benedict Cumberbatch. So good. He talks about the memory palace. And I thought it was like a fictional thing that they made up. It's Sherlock Holmes. He never forgets anything. He can recall everything. And he is a genius fictional character. And then I looked up what the memory palace was. And I'm like, "Whoa, that's interesting." I've yet to use it. And if you're curious about it, go look it up. It ties an idea to a physical thing in your life, right?
Like your house or your living room or something. And you're able to sequence and remember ideas. You could tie it to your body if you want, going from your head to your eyebrows, to your nose, to your mouth, to your ears, to your shoulder, et cetera. So you attach ideas to different parts that you can recall. And the act of doing that, cements it to something weird. And I think for whatever reason, those things get coupled together and you're able to remember it. Okay, Steph, and then we're going to finish it out with Prax and Marcel.

Stephanie:

I do have the three two ones that you asked me to do. So do you want me to do those at the end of the call?

Chris:

No, let's do right now. Go ahead. So if you want to be a content creator and you want to get your ideas out there, you want to help people. You want to influence people and actions and things like that. If you want to build authority and what it is that you're doing, we're going to help to make this actionable. So 3, 2, 1 go.

Stephanie:

All right so if you are reading a chapter from a book, jot down the three takeaways for your particular audience, it may need to be reframed. Two remarkable quotes from the author that you want to remember and put it all together in one carousel for your audience.

Chris:

There you go. I'll have another one for you later.

Stephanie:

Okay. And then I was thinking today, if you would like to create an Instagram story, three tips for reading efficiently, two physical tools that you want to use. And one, put it all together into one Instagram story.

Chris:

Bang. Look at that. Okay. We're not out of time yet. So you still have an ability to apply what we talk about in the next few minutes. Ashley, I wanted to say one thing to you as a friend. I hope you do more clubhouse calls. I hear you. I see you. I appreciate your contributions.

Ashley:

Thanks, man.

Chris:

I just want you to upgrade your microphone game.

Ashley:

I'm trying, you know what? I had my other headphones in and then as we're talking, right, I see the little battery thing go down. And while I'm just waiting for you to say my name, I'm like switching Bluetooth mic, I'm just switching over here. I know it's bad. I will get better. Cause I have some good stuff to say. So, yeah.

Chris:

I know your audio's killing me. So I'm going to do what I've done before. Do my little Yoda. Okay. Do or do not do there's. No try. So Ashley?

Ashley:

Yes.

Chris:

Don't tell me, you're trying. Just do just like my name. Just get it done. Oh, there, there, she's holding up the Yoda. Okay. All right. Let's move on.

Ashley:

OK. Go. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. OK. Let's go.

Chris:

All right. Let's do it. Okay. So next up is Prax. Prax, go.

Prax:

Hey Chris, I'm going to, I'm going to put you on the spot, man. This time last year you had a debate with a guy named Stef about branding and I think he was talking about a book by Byron Sharp. I'm just curious, man. Have you read that book? Because you were talking about reading things that go against your assumptions. I'm just curious. Have you read it?

Chris:

I have not. My list is long and winding. So you're talking about Stef Hamerlinck?

Prax:

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Chris:

Yes. You know what? One of the problems with Stef, and I like Stef a lot, I think he's a super sharp person. I think he likes to be a contrarian because it's sport for him. And when we had our debate and we had a podcast episode together, it wasn't terribly convincing to me. I would like to read the opposite, but it's so contrarian. It seems like 99% of the world thinks this. And 1% of the world thinks that, that maybe it's anomaly. I'm not sure.

Prax:

Chris, my boss just gave me... there's two books actually for homework. I think he just did a bad job of explaining it. I think you two are kind of saying the same thing, just from two different mindsets.

Chris:

Hold on. I want to talk to you, because you're coming in the heat, right? Coming in the heat. So I want to ask you this question. Was it my imagination or was the debate not really strong? Was it just me?

Prax:

It wasn't. And because you all were both using the word brand differently. So it was hard to have a debate when you're using different definitions.

Chris:

Yeah. Okay. So what's the two books?

Prax:

It's How Brands Grow, part one and part two.

Chris:

Okay. Part one part two. Okay. I'll add it to the list. My wife keeps telling me no more books, no more buying books because you can't read them all. I mean probably by the time I expire I would not be able to read all the books that I have unless I dramatically increase the amount of books that I read. So I added it to my list. And I'll add it to Amazon. Let's see what happens there. Okay. Now I'll tell you something else too. Prax, thanks for bringing that up about... Stay up on stage, if you will. About specialization and focus and nicheing and almost every single book from a whole bunch of different fields, it almost always seemed like they say "You should specialize and there's a competitive advantage." And then there's this one book called Range that theoretically proposes the opposite. But it's according to some people I really respect. What it is that they are saying, intellectually misleading to say that we must be diverse and we are better being diverse. And it's really misleading.
And so people who don't want to focus, especially my friends that I care about in the creative industry's like, "No, I don't want to focus. I want to do everything. I want to be all things to all people. The world is my audience." I'm like, "Okay." And as you continue to struggle in life and have a hard time making ends meet and you keep citing things. And the first thing I'll ask them, is "Did you even read that book?" Like, "No." So you read somebody else's paraphrase of the book and it was your lightning rod and that's all you need. That's the amount of ammunition. So 9,000 books, one book says the opposite, but is intellectually misleading, according to somebody. That's going to be your thing? So I hope you're not going to send me down that same rabbit hole with How Brands Grow, but I'm adding it to my list now.

Prax:

I think you have the right lens to read it the right way. I don't think Stef read it. I don't think he argued it correctly.

Chris:

Was he referencing that book in that conversation?

Prax:

I don't know, but everything he said aligned with that book, I'm pretty sure he was talking about that book.

Chris:

Okay. Here goes, I'm looking at it right now. There it is. Adding to cart now.

Rahul:

Chris, about that book. What's funny is, Blair did a podcast with David on this and he-

Chris:

Oh, the plot thickens.

Rahul:

Yeah. And he said that he questioned people. Just what you said, "Did you actually read the book?" Because towards the end he kind of contradicts himself and he goes in favor of specializing.

Chris:

Yeah. You're talking about range, right?

Rahul:

Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. Not How Brands Grow. Yeah.

Ashley:

Who's the author?
David Epstein.

Chris:

I even bought the book. It's sitting back there, but it's not on my high priority book to read. So it's here for sure. Okay. So this one, how brands grow it's written by Byron Sharp. Just so I can prove to everybody I'm actually adding to my cart right now. Part one, part two is a blue book. So I'm going to add it because I'm interested in branding. Right? So How Brands Grow? That's the book, right? Byron Sharp.

Prax:

Yes. It took me to chapter nine to actually... Because I heard that episode. I'm like, "Yeah. I don't believe this. guy Stef." It took me to chapter nine. Yeah, it took me a while.

Chris:

Okay. I like Stef. I really do. Sometimes I think he just wants to fight with people and I don't even engage in the post anymore because he's just... Whatever you think, it's the opposite. I'm like, "Okay. Sure." So Stef, love you, just don't always agree with you. Actually I rarely agree with you so I don't know. I'll just be clear. Okay. Thanks. Very much Prax. Is there anything else you wanted to contribute?

Prax:

No. Some people were sharing tips on reading. One thing that I started doing last year is I get the audio book and the physical book and I play it at 1.5 speed and I can read a lot faster.

Chris:

Wow. I even try that. Cause my son will watch things at two, three times speed. I'm like, "Boy, how are you doing this? Really?" And then I can't do it. I just can't. Even when I watch YouTube videos, I watch it, hit pause and take some notes and it's because I want to squeeze everything out of that the first time. But some people can move that fast. Good for you. Okay. All right. Ashley, are you back up or you have you always been up here?

Ashley:

I have always been up here. Did you bring me back up? I fixed my audio though.

Chris:

Hey you did. It sounds so much better.

Ashley:

You told me to do. I was like, "Listen, I'm doing."

Chris:

You are doing. Because you know what happens, is every time... And people don't realize this, when you're on speaker mode, when your speak and the speaker mode is on and something else is being said, we get feedback loop. And it sounds horrible.

Ashley:

Sorry, I am so sorry. Honestly.

Chris:

You feel like you're next to me right now, versus 10 feet away.

Ashley:

There we go. It's better.

Chris:

It is better.

Ashley:

And I also stepped into my closet.

Chris:

Oh, you leveled, you plussed it.

Ashley:

I did.

Chris:

You leveled up.

Ashley:

I really leveled up. Yeah. I'm trying to turn my... So this is how leveling up I'm going. I'm trying to turn my office closet into a sound booth.

Chris:

Nice.

Ashley:

Yes.

Chris:

Yeah. You don't have to do too much. Your closet works just perfectly with closing.

Ashley:

Non-dominant hand though guys. Seriously. I had some real breakthroughs through... It bypasses your ego, right? So your rational center of thinking your inside sort of argumentative part that's going, "That can't be true," right? It bypasses that part. So it's not replacing writing notes. It's supplementing it.

Chris:

Okay. So you're saying with your dominant hand... Because I've heard this exercise before and I've done it a long time ago. Is it that you ask yourself a question with your dominant hand and that you answer the question in your non-dominant hand just to find the truth?

Ashley:

No. So the way it goes, okay. So the clearest example I can think of is somebody going through trauma therapy, right? You write something out saying, "I know that I'm a good person." Okay. Now somebody who's been through trauma, that doesn't actually register. Right? They're going, "I know that I'm a good person." Right. They're writing that with their right hand. So if you take it and you also write, "I know that I'm a good person." You're going to feel different writing it.

Chris:

Oh, I see. I see.

Ashley:

And it sounds weird, but it's repeating what you've written. Right? It's-

Chris:

So you can really see it and feel it.

Ashley:

Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

Chris:

I see. Okay. Same idea. Just different application.

Ashley:

Yeah. And I've started using it for things I want to retain. So it's taken from therapy, but it's applied into the other parts of my life.

Chris:

All right. All right. I was going to end this call, ladies and gentlemen, but I have Kristen up here with me and she's a domestic and wild animal trainer and coordinator for film and TV. And I don't know if that means. I just have to have her up here. And she's holding a bird, a parrot? Something.

Kristen:

It is.

Chris:

So you get me, you win.

Kristen:

I just wanted to jump up just because what Ashley's saying. I mean, I heard her say it the first time, and then now she's repeating it. So I wanted to jump up and just kind of echo the validity of it. Because I did, years ago, it was three years of Yun Yin group therapy. It was crazy, life changing. And the first couple of weeks, that's what... And these were licensed professionals, right? So these weren't just people that went through a coaching certification, these were mental health professionals, licensed in the state of California. And they had us do the lefthanded exercise.
And I'm like, oh God. I hate admitting this about myself, but I have this annoying inner elitist. It's always like, "This is stupid." You know what I mean? No matter what I'm doing, it comes up and I'm always just like, "Just shut up, just do it." And it really was. That was a cool thing to do. And I did. It shut that noisy inside of me up real quick. I'll tell you that. And it was cool. So I dig that exercise, Ashley, thanks for bringing it up.

Ashley:

You're welcome. It is, you know what, even just for calls with Chris, I think it's going to be a real huge...not just a time, it's just going to boost everything. Right? Because you're getting past that initial... for imposter syndrome, for shiny object syndrome. I'm so excited to use the things that I've learned through mental health therapists on this. Because now it's like, I'm making money off of bettering myself.

Chris:

I have to take the opportunity of Kristen. What wild animal do you have near you? And can they make a noise?

Kristen:

I'm not around any other than my children, which are [crosstalk 01:52:50] savages, I don't have it on me, but I'll tell you this week. I'll tell you what I'm working with. Just this week. Obviously I'm working with dogs. I have two different TV shows that I'm doing with dogs. I have a bear, a Kodiak bear I'm working with this week and a fallow deer. So that is what my week looks like. Plus my children.

Chris:

Okay. I almost feel like you have to provide evidence on these calls and the growl of the bear for us to believe you. Otherwise we'll have to just take your word for it.

Kristen:

What do I have? I might have...I'm going to have-

Chris:

See, we hear the children. We believe you.

Kristen:

Oh yeah. They're little screamers. They're so cute. Yeah.

Chris:

Okay.

Kristen:

No bear near me now though. I hate to tell you.

Chris:

All right.

Kristen:

You're just going to have to take my word for it. Google me.

Chris:

I'll take your word. Yes. Okay. So we're going to wrap up the call, Rahul, Stephanie and everybody else. That's joined us here. Thank you very much for spending your Sunday with us. And if this is your third call with me, you're an amazing person. And hopefully you're able to apply something that you've learned. The application is where the magic is. And if you want to go one up on that, if you want to level up, as Ashley had just done, go and share this idea, try and teach it to someone, articulate this in some other form. You profit from it every time you'd do. And these are little deposits that you make in the equity bank and the carmic equity thing. You're just putting a deposit in and eventually you'll cash out. On some other call, I can share with anybody who's interested in how I'm cashing out.
You cash me outside. Right? I want to say a couple different things here. I want to recognize a couple of the pro members in this room. If you notice they have these little salmony kind of persimmon color stickers next to them. So I'm just going to say hello to them, before we get out of here. Amy Lynn, we see you. Carrie, Male. Of course. Annalee still here. The Swedish vampire is still here. I can't believe it because it's some unholy hour. That's why she's a vampire unholy hour in Sweden, it's nine hours ahead. So Ewan is here.
Who else is here? Oh gosh, I don't... Oh, Carol. You just recently joined. Carol, welcome. I don't see your badge yet. Hopefully you get that up. Andres, Jul, who we talked to earlier. Yvonne, I see you. Unique has been always been here. Thank you very much. Rachel. And I always butcher your name. I'm so sorry. Holcomb. How do you say his name? I keep butchering it, but he's like, "As long as you don't forget me. I'm okay." All right. We're out of here guys. Thanks very much. Take care. Have a lovely rest of your day.

Speaker 5:

Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Futur podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barrow for editing and mixing this episode and thank you to Adam Sandborn for our intro music.
If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to thefutur.com/heychris, and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit thefutur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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