in Reading

How I Read

I’ll answer this in terms of how I manage and document my learning from reading, which is just one of the many ways to learn in general. The TL;DR is that it’s a combination of Evernote and my blog, but the details are where the value is.

I read from these sources:

  • Articles (blog, news, forums)
  • Physical books
  • eBooks

Those are the only three sources of reading material in my daily life. I came up with a system to process all of the lessons and wisdom from these sources into one place.

For me, that is Evernote. Here is how I do it for each source:

Blogs, Articles, Forum Posts, etc.

  1. Load all blogs I read into Feedly
  2. Scan through at the beginning of each day and “Save for Later” anything that seems like worthwhile reading.
  3. An IFTTT¬†action sends these articles to my Evernote inbox notebook with the tags “knowledge” and “to read”.
  4. When I have time that can’t be spent better, I process Evernote and open articles on the web.
  5. Use the Highly chrome extension to highlight most important passages
  6. Paste the Highly summary of the article into the Evernote copy of the article
  7. Remove “to read” tag and move article from my inbox notebook to my repository notebook

Note: If I’m reading a non-blog article or forum post, I’ll use Evernote’s Web Clipper and replicate steps 4-7.

Physical Books

  1. Use Post-It tags for important passages
  2. Write in margins if I need to add commentary or thoughts about a particular section
  3. When done with the book, go through and copy all notable passages into an note on Evernote and save it with the “book notes” tag.


  1. Read with Kindle Cloud Reader or on tablet
  2. Highlight important passages
  3. Use the Bookcision bookmarklet to save all highlighted passages on
  4. Paste highlights into Evernote under ‘book notes’ notebook

Turning Knowledge Into Wisdom

With this system, I have a way to categorize and classify all of my reading, from any source, all in one place. That’s great and is definitely a step above just reading things mindlessly and forgetting about them later, but the next step is to turn this knowledge into wisdom through synthesis and everyday life.

For the more important concepts or mental models, I try to break them down on my blog. This is mostly for myself, but hopefully others can benefit as well.

A recent example is my Mental Model: Tilt post, about the poker concept of “tilt” or an emotional state of being that causes poor play in games of strategy