Get More Out Of The Books You Read With An Idea Index

Get More Out of the Books You Read With an Idea Index

Trying to remember what we love about a book will leave us forgetting some of the best parts. And when we go back to try to find them, we definitely don't remember which pages to look for. Use an Idea Index to be more effective: list the important ideas and quotes, and the page number they're on, right in the front of the book.

Picture: Sebastien Wiertz/Flickr

Professional blogger and avid reader Maria Popova uses the Idea Index, which eliminates the guesswork of referring back to important passages of a book. Study Hacks Blog explains how the method works:

Around thirty-one minutes into the interview, Popova explains how she takes notes on books:

  • As she reads, she creates an index at the front of the book that lists its most interesting ideas.
  • Every time she encounters a passage relevant to one of these ideas she adds the page to the relevant line in the index. If its a new idea, she creates a new line for it.
  • As she reads more, the index grows.

Here's what's great about this idea index method: When you pick up a book read long ago, you can quickly recall what it has to offer by glancing at the index. Then, if you want to grab some quotes about one of these ideas, the index tells you exactly where to look (no more reading every annotation!).

If you have trouble with productive note-taking, or remembering all of the best parts of a book, try the Idea Index. Use it for notating good quotations and passages, as well as ideas the book might have inspired in you.

Maria Popova on Writing, Workflow, and Workarounds [The Blog of Tim Ferriss via Study Hacks Blog]

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