Since I started properly reading again after a colleague of mine lent me his copy of Born To Run I must have read 100 plus books . . . maybe more than that, unsure.

And as much as I have taken in and try and recall what I have learnt to my friends and colleagues I feel that I am missing some gems and instead of having to dive back in or reread 4 Hour Work Week cover to cover again wouldn’t it be great to have a formalised set of notes with my highlights and key actions that I could refer to.

Inspired by Tim Urban

This was also inspired by a conversation on Tim Ferriss’ Podcast with Tim Urban who is the author at https://waitbutwhy.com/ – where he picks subjects and absolutely deep dives in on them.  They are incredible, just the bitcoin post alone is 40,000 words.

And the way that he starts is generally on Wikipedia and follows the rabbit hole.  I was thinking how does he recall or take notes on all that information in an easily accessible format.

So after a few searches, I found a really simple notetaking practice that Tim Ferriss uses:

  • Numbers every other page in his notebook
  • Creates a table of contents for his notes
  • Themes listed together in contents
  • If it’s not a “Hell yes!” then its a no.  (So when he gets a tactic from a piece of research he will still note it down. But the extra”Hell yes!” he highlights so that it is even easier to focus on.)

There are other supreme notetakers out there and I am keen to understand how they collate everything.

To help further and to cope with multiple notebooks I am exploring the idea of a master index book.

The other problem that I am encountering with notetaking is the number of different sources that I receive information from; blogs, online courses from LinkedIn Learning / Udemy, books, and podcasts.  I almost have a notebook for each currently.

I will update to see how this evolves!

Please let me know any ninja notetaking skills that you have picked up over the years.


James O'Donnell
James O'Donnell

James is on a mission to put the Social back into Social Media!