A New Way to Capture Book Insights


To get smart on multiple fields for making our LDT masters project work, my project partner and I have been reading a lot every week. We have been reading everything from academic journals and research handbooks to science books and spiritual paperbacks. Looking at the rather large stack of books in my living room one afternoon a few weeks ago, I realized that I have just scaled up a particular pain point in my life: cataloguing insights from books I read for quick recall later on. I have tried writing down notes and inserting sticky notes while reading, summarizing texts and even photographing relevant pages right after reading. All of these methods aim to capture information in a format that still requires quite a bit of reading to sift through. What I need is a way to revisit the key ideas of texts in a manner that sparks my recall within seconds.

The more I thought about and prototyped ways of achieving my goal, I have settled on trying out a highly visual two-pager book insight summary. Because the summary can be only two pages long, I can easily print it as well as skim through it in seconds. More importantly, because the summary aims to spark recall rather than comprehensively summarize, I can use highly visual cues and keywords instead of textual citations and paragraphs. I am going to try this technique for the next few weeks to experiment with the limitations and opportunities it brings into my life. For my first visual book insights summary, I have chosen Commit to Win by Heidi Reeder.

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