“Wait. What?” she asked. “You are messing with me. You read all the time.”
“I do now, but I didn’t start until a few years after college.”
“What two books?” she asked after a long pause, looking for me to crack a smile or otherwise give up the ruse.
“Nicholas and Alexandra and … I think … Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.”
“Well, of course. What other two books could it have been? How the freak did you graduate?”
The truth of it is, so long as I paid attention in class and took good notes, I was able to capture the really important parts by listening to the teacher and my peers. Afterwards, I briefly reviewed my scribbles and the text to gather the relevant facts needed to do the graded work.
Thinking about it now, I think the secret ingredients of efficient learning are:
- Listening and absorbing the important concepts through good notetaking.
- Scanning the long form sources and references to acquire facts related to the important concepts.
- Asking questions.
- Trial and error (admittedly, I didn’t slay every one of Mrs. Fretwell’s literature quizzes, but as a whole, I came out literate).
This bit of knowledge hacking has served me well in a career swamped with facts, dreadful authoritative texts, and conflicting opinion. I show up and listen every day and take lots of notes to distill the genesis of what is important. I read to find the specific answers and support I need to do my job well. Experience is nothing more than the repetition of trial and error.
Not for nothing, but this method of learning complex tasks is what powers (K)notes, our bi-monthly event and publication covering current events and reimbursement happenings in the HME industry. If you would like to graduate at the top of your class, our next event is on December 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm EST.