These are real books on my bookshelf, not a stock photo.

How I Read and Take Notes

I try to take time every day to read. Here is how I go about reading and taking notes on different mediums.

Physical books

  • Underline and take bullet point notes as I go through
  • Revisit my underlines and bullet points a few days after finishing the book to write the takeaways in my own words. I sometimes publish these at http://www.cagrimmett.com/book-notes/

eBooks

  • Highlight and take bullet point notes as I read.
  • Revisit my underlines and bullet points a few days after finishing the book to write the takeaways in my own words.
  • Export my highlights and include them with the book notes.

Audiobooks

  • I listen on 1.25–1.5x speed. Most audiobooks are just too slow for me. I wish the Audible app had Overcast’s Smart Speed feature built in to reduce pauses.
  • Every 30 minutes or so I pause my listening and jot down a list of notes from the last listening session. I listen to audiobooks a lot while I’m driving, so on long trips I tend to pull over at rest areas for a few minutes to take notes. If I’m out on a walk, I just wait until I get back home.

Online Articles

  • I consume and immediately move on from most articles I casually read.
  • If I found the article because I’m doing research, I usually take what I’ve learned and use it immediately. I then bookmark the article for later reference.
  • I rarely take notes on articles. Sometimes I’ll edit the bookmark description on Raindrop.io, but that is usually the extent of it.
  • The exception when I do take notes is when I learn something really useful from the article. Those notes tend to get appended to a long-running topical document with a link that I can refer to later. Examples: Marketing, project management, investing, health, etc. It is useful to keep long-running documents with things you’ve learned that you can turn to when you are having trouble.