How to Take Notes From Books 10X Faster (Kindle - iPad - Tablet Compatible)
Everyone is super excited about reading a book a week or a day, and that’s amazing, but in my opinion, it’s only the beginning.
See, how I conceive in my mind the process of reading a book is the following:
- I read it.
- I take notes and process the information.
- I take action.
- If I need refreshing, I check the notes I made.
So as you can see, of course it’s important to actually read books (it’s the first step of the process), but what’s equally important – or perhaps even more important – is what we do with the books after we read them.
Reading is Just One Phase
Just reading a book and then collect them as trophies on a bookshelf, although they look nice, will not do much for us. That’s why we need a system, a sort of method we can use to take notes and the process the information so it’s easily available when we need it to take action.
The three methods that are commonly used are:
- The old-fashioned way of writing down a summary of the book. This method is pretty good but it’s very time consuming. You can spend hours making a complete summary of a good book.
- The second method is to look for the book summary on the internet. This one is faster than method one, but it has one downside. Often, the summaries are not as complete as one might like, and they omit information for the sake of publishing summaries faster.
- The third way is the Inerize way, a method that I discovered and like to call the Inerizers Note-Taking System, or INTS. (I’ve just invented that name)
With the INTS, you don’t have to waste hours summarizing a book or copy and paste other’s people’s incomplete summaries, knowing that they might be not as good as you might like. Instead, you’ll be able to take notes extremely fast and build a summary created by your truly.
For the INTS to work, we’ll need:
- A computer
- A note-taking app like OneNote or Evernote. I recommend OneNote because it’s free, powerful and can be synced between multiple devices. (I’ll leave a link in the description where you can download it for free)
- An e-Reader where you can download the Kindle App. Although you could do it on your computer, table, or phone, this method works best with a Kindle (I’ll show you why in a couple of minutes). If you have one, perfect. If you don’t and want to invest in one, I’ll leave my favorite model below.
Once you have your OneNote installed and, hopefully a Kindle – you are ready to go.
The Best Note-Taking System for Students and Readers
Step 1: Buy the book you want to read
The first step is pretty straightforward. If you don’t have any books to read at the moment, you can check out my new video about the 7 best books I’ve read here and get some inspiration.
Step 2: Read the book and highlight the important sections
As you read the book, you should be summarizing the sections and sentences you find relevant and useful. Pro tip, also summarize the chapter name and headlines. This will be useful in the future.
Step 3: Export your notes
Here’s where all the magic happens so pay attention. When you finish your book, in the Kindle App you have the ability to export and download everything you highlighted. On a Kindle, this process is very simple:
- Click on the book you want to export
- Touch the upper side of the screen so the main menu pops up.
- Click on Go to > Notes > and below you’ll find the button “Export Notes”
In a few moments, you’ll find in your inbox an email with the exported notes in CSV and PDF format.
Now, if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still do it with your phone, computer, or tablet but there are two limitations:
- You can only export the notes in HTML or Text format. I won’t go through each device or OS because I don’t want to make this video boring, but I’ll leave a link below with a very insightful blogpost about how you can do it. (https://the-digital-reader.com/2020/06/28/how-to-download-your-kindle-notes-and-highlights-and-export-them/)
- The number of highlights you can export is considerably less.
Step 4: Copy your notes into your OneNote or App
Now that you have your notes exported, it’s time to paste them on your note-taking app. I’ll be using OneNote because it’s the one I know and love, but you can extrapolate this process to your app of choice.
If you exported your notes using a Kindle, open the CSV file and copy all the notes you’ve taken. Now, on OneNote create a Section called Book Summaries and a Page named after the book. Once that’s done, paste the notes there.
Pro tip: Paste them with the option “Keep Text Only” so the notes are not pasted inside the table, which doesn’t look very nice.
If you used another device, open the HTML file and print it as a PDF. Then go to your OneNote, look for the Insert Tab and click on File Printout to select the PDF. And wala¸ you have a PDF version of your notes on your computer and phone.
Step 5: Making it nice
If you exported your notes as a CSV or Excel file, I highly recommend stylizing them a bit. What I do as a first step, is to separate the paragraphs so it’s easier for me to read.
Then, I bold or underline the Chapters and headlines so when I come back, I can find the information faster (that’s why I told you to also highlight the chapters’ name and important headlines).
Wrapping this Framework Up
And that’s it. With this method you’ll have a nice-looking summary of your book made by you in a matter of minutes, and the best part is that you’ll be carrying it wherever you go since OneNote syncs between your computer and phone.
Also, if you happen to need information from a specific chapter or subject, you can use the search function by typing control (or command) F and look for it quickly.
As you’ve probably realized, having a Kindle makes this process faster and nicer because:
- You are not as restricted with the amount of notes you can export.
- You can export the notes as a CSV file, which then look better when you paste them in your note-taking app.
That’s not to say that it’s not doable with it. A PDF File is way better than nothing, and much better than writing the summaries yourself or copying them from the internet.
So, before I let you go, here are some 2 tips I’ve learned through my journey:
- Careful not to summarize everything in the book you are reading. Kindle sets a limit on how much content you can export due to copyright issues and if you go passed that, the remaining notes won’t get exported. If this ever happens to you, there’s a manual trick you can do, which is essentially copying and pasting from your Kindle App the remaining un-exported notes into your OneNote (or note-taking app)
- The second tip is more of a conceptual one. The reason why I believe Inerizers’ Note Taking System is so powerful is because books – specially non-fiction – are not made to be read once and hide them on a shelf. On the contrary, they should be treated as guides and manuals you can come back to when you need them. I find myself constantly re-reading my notes from books I’ve read when I encounter a problem, or I need to refresh some concept.
So, that’s it you all. This is the way I save my notes and create fast and beautiful summaries that I can access anywhere I go.
As a disclaimer, Kindle is not sponsoring this article. It’s just that the system works best with one.
See you soon!
Maybe you are also interested in: