The Brutal Truth About Reading: If You Don’t Take Notes Right, You’ll Forget Nearly Everything

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Apr 02, 20244 min read


The Brutal Truth About Reading: If You Don’t Take Notes Right, You’ll Forget Nearly Everything

What Exactly Is Product Discovery? Product Discovery 101

In the fast-paced world we live in, acquiring and retaining knowledge is crucial for personal and professional growth. Reading is one of the most effective ways to gain knowledge, but the sad truth is that our brain is more of a forgetting machine than a remembering machine. We are captains of a leaky vessel, constantly losing valuable information unless we actively take steps to retain it.

One of the key ways to combat this forgetting phenomenon is by taking notes while reading. When we write down what we learn, we are more likely to remember it. In fact, research has shown that sharing what you learn with others actually helps you remember it better. This is because the act of explaining concepts to others reinforces our own understanding and solidifies the information in our memory.

However, as time goes by, you may lose your excitement to share what you have learned. The initial spark of insight that motivated you to share diminishes over time. This is why it is crucial to find ways to keep the excitement alive and continue sharing your knowledge with others. Whether it's through blog posts, social media, or discussions with colleagues, finding outlets to share your insights will not only benefit others but also help you retain the knowledge for yourself.

In the world of business, companies like Amazon have mastered the art of knowledge retention and utilization. In order to grow, Amazon had to be able to store and process vast amounts of data, leading them to develop their own server system, which eventually became Amazon Web Services (AWS). This infrastructure has now become more profitable than all of Amazon's other divisions combined. Similarly, Amazon leveraged their expertise in warehousing, shipping, and product listings to create additional revenue streams. The total value of knowledge is a function of how often you use it over time and how valuable it is when you use it.

It's easy to underestimate the value of what we call "Titanium Knowledge." Titanium Knowledge refers to the knowledge that may not seem immediately applicable or solve a specific problem today, but has immense value in the long run. Being just 2% better at prioritizing something for the next 10 years (3,650 days) of your life can have a significant impact on your success and productivity. It's important to recognize that the value of knowledge extends beyond immediate problem-solving and can have long-term benefits.

Now let's shift our focus to the concept of Product Discovery. When it comes to developing new products or ideas, there are five key risks that need to be considered: value, usability, viability, feasibility, and ethics. Value refers to whether the product will create value for customers. Usability questions whether users will be able to figure out how to use it. Viability considers whether the business can support the product. Feasibility concerns whether the technology exists to bring the product to life. Lastly, ethics explores any ethical considerations that may arise.

Product Discovery is a process that aims to discover the product to build, while Product Delivery focuses on delivering that product to the market. These two streams run in parallel, intertwining the creative and operational aspects of product development. By thoroughly understanding the risks and conducting a comprehensive Product Discovery phase, companies can increase their chances of success and minimize potential pitfalls.

In conclusion, knowledge retention and product discovery are both critical components of personal and professional growth. By actively taking notes and sharing what we learn, we can enhance our memory and solidify our understanding. Additionally, recognizing the long-term value of knowledge and investing in Titanium Knowledge can have a profound impact on our lives. When it comes to product development, thorough discovery and risk assessment are essential for success. By considering the five key risks and conducting a comprehensive Product Discovery phase, companies can maximize their chances of delivering valuable products to the market.

Three actionable pieces of advice to take away from this article are:

1. Make it a habit to take notes while reading or learning. This simple practice can significantly improve your retention and understanding of the material.

2. Find ways to share your knowledge and insights with others. Whether it's through writing, speaking, or engaging in discussions, sharing what you learn helps reinforce your own understanding and contributes to the collective knowledge pool.

3. Recognize the long-term value of knowledge. Don't just focus on immediate problem-solving. Invest in Titanium Knowledge that may not seem directly applicable now but can have a substantial impact on your future success and productivity.

By implementing these three actionable steps, you can enhance your learning, retain knowledge, and contribute to the discovery and development of valuable products or ideas.


  1. "The Brutal Truth About Reading: If You Don’t Take Notes Right, You’ll Forget Nearly Everything", (Glasp)
  2. "What Exactly Is Product Discovery? Product Discovery 101", (Glasp)

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