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October 21, 2015

Motivating repeat reading

Like films, once I finish a book, I rarely return to it. 

I have the ability to do it (it’s not hard, and the book is easy to get to), and I often want to re-read, but don’t.

My hypothesis is, one of the big reasons I don’t repeat read books, even chapters or sentences that are memorable, is because I’m not reminded to do so. In behavioral design, The primary behavioral bottleneck… is (often) the trigger.”

So, here are a couple of solutions, with that assumption in mind.

Physical
A slim, vibrating device you could attach to a book, and remotely control with your phone. You’d set a time in the future you’d like to be reminded to read the book. It could be randomized or a static 100 days later. The idea is that the device would lurch the book out of it’s shelf with a violent buzz. You’d come home to find the ‘chosen’ book lying on the ground. Yes, ridiculous. It could be a glowing light too.

Digital
If you use a kindle as your primary reading device, an app could send highlights from past-read books, as future notifications. The repetition pattern might be based on something like this model, which is used for moving information from short term to long term memory. The quotes would link to the paragraph that contained them, which makes it very easy to continue reading that old book for 10 min.

I’m excited to reach 30 books read this year, which is easily the most I’ve ever read in my life. 

Edit: This idea of re-surfacing content you’ve previously read is very interesting to me. How often do you re-read a article, or even stuff you’ve highlighted? I can see a OSX type notifcation once in a while surfacing a quote. This is how you learn stuff.