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How to take notes: Maria Popova’s note taking system



How do you take notes efficiently while reading a book or a textbook?

Maria Popova, writer, blogger and critic and better known for The Marginalian reveals her note-taking system while she reads all her books.

In order to memorise and remember the pattern of the writer’s thought and the most important topics and ideas from a specific book, she does the following:

How to take notes

1. Create an index

Create an index at the beginning or end of the book.

2. Add topics

While reading, add topics and ideas with the relevant page.

3. Use acronyms

Create your own acronyms to highlight and note ideas, topics, quotes etc. Maria, for example, uses “BL” for beautiful language or “LJ” for Literary Jukebox (a little side project of her).

This is a great little tip that makes it easy to recall the topics and main ideas in each book, even if read a long time ago. All you need to do is go through the index so you can easily catch up on what was the book about and find relevant pages.

Listen to her whole workflow and workaround in this talk with Tim Ferriss.

Avatar photo Written by Sabine Staggl

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