Warning: This post is image heavy
I try to avoid writing generic productivity pieces which are just rehashes of already available blog posts. I wrote this because a lot of people question the idea of setting reading goals (this it is too egoistic) and wonder if anyone can really manage to read and retain so much.
A blogpost on reading habits and how to improve your reading speed is something I already did. I also explained in another post about zero days and how to avoid them.
This expands on the previous posts and details out my own learning workflow which has helped me read 80+ books, 1000s of blogposts, 100s of podcasts this year and also (hopefully) retain a lot of them. Let’s start.
My primary reading device is my phone.
I take notes from the books I read on an Android app called Inkpad. I have shared more details about that in the reading habits post which I shared in the beginning of this post. I copy paste the interesting paragraphs and also add my own interpretations for most non-fiction books I read.
At home, generally I am on my kindle. I like reading light books on on Kindle as the note taking workflow is a pain and even if all the highlights go to a Clippings page, I have a hard time separating the notes for different books and managing them later.
Notes from my Kindle are centralised in the default Clipping page.
If the book is really heavy with tons of frameworks, ideas and I feel I have to copy paste a lot of content, then I prefer reading on my Mac using the default Books app or on my iPad.
Notes from both are synced on the default Notes app provided by Apple.
If there are a lot of images/charts in the book then I prefer creating a Google doc and dumping it there as I did for Blue Ocean Strategy (image below).
I rarely read physical books. But if I do, I highlight the important points and take photos of important excerpts on my phone.
The homepage of my Inkpad app not only reflects notes taken from books but also ideas from various podcasts, articles and conversations I have with my friends.
I am a big podcast nut. During commute, lunch, and while waiting for people I prefer connecting my headphones and listen to the latest one out.
Here is a screenshot of Castbox app, which I use.
I end up taking notes for podcasts too. Here is one on how to think about your career from Marc Andreessen.
This wraps up books and podcasts. Now off to articles. I have already written a separate post on the blogs, newsletters I read regularly. I end up bookmarking the ones I like and saving them in specific folders I have created. If I want to read something later, and don’t have time now, I save them on a folder called ‘To watch’. I spend my weekends going through it.
This ends the first section of the post which covered how/where I read and also the process of taking notes. How to retain though? I have always found that the best way to retain something is by discussing it with your friends, adding your own thoughts and also periodically rereading the book summary/ notes.
A sample post on monetisation for vernacular apps came out of a late night discussion with a friend who is super bullish on this sector.
I keep writing notes on various things which occupy my headspace and sharing then tweet storming. A lot of people comment/reply with their own views and it helps me have a more holistic idea about the topic. Most of my blogposts come out from Twitter threads, such as the one on hyperlocal startups and the future of Swiggy and Dunzo
Most of the notes never get published, but help me understand why something might be happening.
Finally I try to create frameworks which can be applied in my career as well as personal life. This is my PM handbook with dozens of frameworks on Product management.
I also study models created by others, play around with them, and see if I can improve them.
Apart from these, I have docs on almost everything under the sun. Below is a Doc on interview preparation. I created that so that I never have to spend more than a week preparing for interviews if I ever want a new job. It is 100+ pages long.
Above is a doc with a 30 day on-boarding plan to help me get me started on a new PM role.
Finally the best way to learn is to share more. I try publishing my weekend reads blog every Saturday. Consistency is the key here. Because I share a newsletter every week, I am always reading whenever I get time.
Hope this was useful. Happy reading.
P.S I tweet interesting stuff here: @manas_saloi