Mentally Owning a Book
Shane Parrish

One of my life’s greatest anxieties is placing a read book on a bookshelf. Did I process it sufficiently? How might I access info from it in the future? How might I know what set of intel went with what books?

I do everything Shane speaks of. And I..

Mind map some books

Label each pass through book as pass 1, pass 2 etc.

Date marginalia so I know what pass it went with.

Some marginalia is a conversation with the author.

Write marginalia using two imaginary characters to help me retain ideas.

Have a system for highlighting. Orange introduces a topic and or asks a question in addition to covering headlines, Yellow is the main idea, Green to break up yellow and Pink to note importance.

Place purple and red marks on top of page to note topic.

Underline words in red that I have to look up the meaning for and then write the definition in the margin.

Use a legend to note which of my notebooks I placed info in.

Keep notebooks next to reading chair. I keep a separate notebook for each column that I write in addition to Freedom, Thought and Design journals. All criteria entered in these notebooks end up being clustered (mind mapped). So each note gets a separate page.

Keep a blank notepad on my lap for ideas, actionable stuff and book recommendations. A great many of the books I purchase come from other authors.

Electrical tape dust covers to the book so I don’t have them all over the place.

Write the copyright using a colored marker on the copyright page so that when I go back to check I can easily see.

Highlight the book’s designer.

Use sticky notes as book markers and to denote important areas of book.

Hardcover paperbacks using cardboard so it’s easier to write in them. Cover cardboard with brown wrapping paper. I do sacrifice beautifully designed books for function :-(

On rare occasions I have gifted one of my marked up books to its author as a sort of thanks-for-writing-this book type of thingy. Of course I had to buy another book and mark it up again for myself.

I take reading very seriously and I love to share with others who feel the same…hence the need for this long list. One more item. If I’m trying to problem solve, I’ll take a book that I’ve read on one topic even though it’s not directly related to my problem. I then write my problem down in the front of the book, thereby planting it into my subconscious. Then I read through the book thinking often of my problem. I inevitably “discover” stuff relevant to my problem. It’s a magical process.