How To Capture a Book or Topic and Make It Yours

You buy a book or attend a workshop because you are excited about what it can do for your life! But for too many of us, we forget almost everything we read or hear within weeks and apply virtually nothing. What if you could change that by applying powerful learning and memory principles that could result in your learning and remembering not 4%, but 120% or more! It is easy, fun to do, and much more meaningful. And because you are putting in your own insights and thoughts and connecting them in a synergetic whole, your final result will be way beyond 100% retention and zoom to 120% and rising!

DIRECTIONS:  Print out the example capture sheet and a blank capture sheet so you can follow along with the directions. The capture sheets are designed to put powerful learning, remembering, and applying principles into play as you are reading a book or listening to a talk. The first thing to remember is you must be an active learner if you want to get full value from your experience. The best way to do this is with paper and pencil. Also, it is important to realize that you should provide half of the content by writing down your thoughts, connections, and insights that come up. Passively reading a rook or listening to a talk usually results in your forgetting almost everything within a few days.

I have used chapter 1 of Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles for an example of how I have used a capture sheet. Notice, I have written the title and the author at the top. The next space indicates chapter/presentation. I have written the word personalize because instead of writing the actual chapter title, it is more effective to personalize the title to yourself. My personalized title was Take 100% Responsibility for My Life. You will also find six small happy faces to the right. These are to be filled in as you use periodic review to make whatever you have learned permanent. Each review should only take one or two minutes. Your first review should be immediately after you have finished reading the chapter or the talk has ended. The second review should be the next day, the third review the next week, fourth review the next month, fifth review after 3 months, and sixth review in one year.


The sections that follow are not necessarily done in order. Use them as needed.

Personal Connections: What stories or connections can you add from your own personal experiences or knowledge? For example, I had stories about my father-in-law, my granddaughter, a quotation from the Children’s Living Bible, and the great hymn writer Fanny Crosby.

Mind Map: Visually take notes, but only what has impact. Your own thoughts should also be included.

Power Quotations or Scriptures: Write any quotation or scripture that has the power to stir action. Again, this could be one you supply. It doesn’t have to be from the book. If a quotation has power, you want to use it over and over again. You don’t want to just be impressed by it and then forget it.

Stories/Parables/Objects: Only those that have impact and that you can use for an extended period of time to strengthen your success efforts.

To-Do’s: What actions do you want to take?

Habits: What habits do you want to acquire. To make something a habit requires consistent practice for two or more weeks before it becomes lasting.

Example Capture Sheet  
Learning Success Blank Capture Sheets