brief thoughts on reading and note taking



~2 min read


287 words

Coming into 2015, I promised myself that I would read more than I did the year before. I was achieved this goal, but I finished was no where near where I wanted to be. Completing just 12 books in 2015, I have once again challenged myself to increase that number. So far, so good. In 2016, I have already finished nearly 20 books!

I’ve been able to increase my output by adding audiobooks and carving out an hour to read before going to bed almost without exception since Christmas. While finishing a book delivers a shot of endorphins, I’m not just reading to read. More to the point, given my pace if I wasn’t writing down what I read, I would forget it by the time I pick up the next book.

This would be a problem, except that I stumbled across a few great references of how to remember what you read.

One of my favorites is Maria Popova’s Index Method (which I first heard about on Tim Ferriss’ podcast - from ~38’30” to 41’). While she creates an index in the physical copy of her book, since most of my reading is done on a kindle, I just add the index directly to the note and then see that when I’m reviewing the notes later. The reviewing period is actually the most critical and it’s when I really solidify what I just read for myself. Finding that I often need to digest for a little before I can really benefit from the book, I set a book down for ~2 weeks before I return to the index of notes I’ve created and copy them into my Commonplace book.

On a related note - I found this summary on Zapier of different styles pretty helpful.

Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!