POLL: Do you take notes when you read business books?

by Dexx
27 replies
Out of curiosity, I'm wondering how many warriors take notes (whether via pen and paper or on their computer) as they read through business related books vs. those who just read a book and move on to the net sans notes.

While in the past I used to take notes as I read through books, I also found this made it much longer to actually get through books...and I'm not sure it helped much in the retention department since I found myself basically reading to find note worthy things as opposed to reading for consumption of knowledge...if that makes sense?

So, with that said, do you take notes as you read books or do you just read (and re-read later on as a refresher) instead.

~Dexx
#books #business #notes #poll #read
  • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
    No I don't usually take notes. But I have realised that you can actually purchase ready summarised books i.e. in handy note format - a bit like Cliff Notes. A while back, I promoted a guy's WSO and that's what he was doing.

    Will
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    • Profile picture of the author butters
      I'm a note taker but not for the reason of referring back to them later (unless I need to) but it is more of a tool to help me remember what I read. I remember that one of the best ways to remember something is to write it down with a pen.
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      • Profile picture of the author doc4978
        I like to hold a pen in my hand when reading (or watching something)...even though I scribble notes, I rarely use them...I think the pen holding just helps with concentration...
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  • Profile picture of the author thatjc
    I like to use Microsoft OneNote 2010 for Windows 7 - it's very handy for organizing projects and studies.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    I just remember where in the book I read things so I can go back to it if I need the precise info later and can't remember it well enough to use it without re-read. Then I keep the book in my library. So in a way, I've taken notes - just mentally instead of on paper. I have a bad habit of misplacing notes that I write on paper.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    I stick small post-it labels to important pages with a reference to what I wanted to note - rather than mark the book, and it makes it easy to go back to those pages at future times.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaolinsteve
    I've recently been taking notes of everything I've ever had. I even found some stuff dated in 2007 lol. I have been going through everything over the past 2 weeks, taking notes and basically putting everything into 1 document.

    I write down anything I think is a good idea also.
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  • Profile picture of the author Henry White
    Whether it's written or live/recorded presentation, I always go in fully prepared to take extensive notes, and with a time commitment to "revise and extend" those notes as much as necessary afterwards.

    It doesn't always turn out that way though.

    "Good" marketing, "good" writing/presentation, and "good" teaching are skills that necessarily overlap.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    No, but I probably should.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
      Whether I take notes or not depends upon the business
      book that I'm reading.

      If it's a really great book with awesome content, then
      I'll usually read it a number of times with highlighters
      in hand, marking out the most useful points. I'll also
      add my own notes in pencil in the margins, circle key
      paragraphs. I may even create a summary page of the
      main points of the book if necessary.

      By the way, one of the best tips I ever learned was to
      re-read truly excellent books over and over rather than
      spending the majority of my reading time on new books.

      Classics that I re-read over and over include Scientific
      Advertising by Claude Hopkins, Tested Advertising Methods
      by John Caples, Influence by Robert Cialdini, etc.

      Sure, I take the time to read new books too, but I focus
      most of my reading time extracting great information
      from books I already know are excellent.

      Dedicated to mutual success,

      Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Pulling out my copy of Scientific Advertising is what prompted me to write this post actually! Trying to decide if I should create "cliff notes" of the content in the book, or if I should keep re-reading it as the author intended in full...
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    • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      Pulling out my copy of Scientific Advertising is what prompted me to write this post actually! Trying to decide if I should create "cliff notes" of the content in the book, or if I should keep re-reading it as the author intended in full...
      Here's something to think about...

      Jay Abraham has re-read Scientific Advertising
      OVER 50 times by his own admission.

      Don't you think it would be a good idea to re-read
      the same marketing classic over and over again?

      In fact, Advertising Mogul David Ogilvy said that no
      one should be involved in the field of advertising until
      they have read Scientific Advertising at least 7 times.

      Almost no-one involved in Internet Marketing has done
      that, so that makes it easier to whip their ass :-)

      Dedicated to mutual success,

      Shaun
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post


        In fact, Advertising Mogul David Ogilvy said that no
        one should be involved in the field of advertising until
        they have read Scientific Advertising at least 7 times.

        Almost no-one involved in Internet Marketing has done
        that, so that makes it easier to whip their ass :-)
        What makes you say that?

        Obviously some of us have.
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        • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
          Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

          What makes you say that?

          Obviously some of us have.
          Some of us have - that's why I said almost no-one.

          Only a minority of Internet Marketers have read Scientific
          Advertising more than once. Fewer still have read it at
          least 7 times.

          Dedicated to mutual success,

          Shaun
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      • Profile picture of the author Dexx
        Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

        Here's something to think about...

        Jay Abraham has re-read Scientific Advertising
        OVER 50 times by his own admission.

        Don't you think it would be a good idea to re-read
        the same marketing classic over and over again?

        In fact, Advertising Mogul David Ogilvy said that no
        one should be involved in the field of advertising until
        they have read Scientific Advertising at least 7 times.

        Almost no-one involved in Internet Marketing has done
        that, so that makes it easier to whip their ass :-)

        Dedicated to mutual success,

        Shaun
        Well I'm guessing the marketing greats don't take notes then? They just keep re-reading the info as the author intended as opposed to a summarized version via notes...
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        • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
          Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

          Well I'm guessing the marketing greats don't take notes then? They just keep re-reading the info as the author intended as opposed to a summarized version via notes...
          Who says it needs to be an either/or?

          You can do both if that works for you.

          And I don't know if Jay Abraham has (or hasn't) taken
          notes on Scientific Advertising during his 50+ re-reads
          of the book.

          Find a system that works for you and work that system.

          Here's a link to a video of a process that Rich Schefren
          uses to digest information in books:


          Dedicated to mutual success,

          Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author David Moore
    Of course we should take note. I wonder how many people wasting their time reading a skill book when they don't point out which is important, and which is not important at all. Even my writing is really bad, I try to keep writing it in my notepad. We buy the book and read it to make sure we get the idea, and apply it. But there are many idea in the book, so we should write down the important part.
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    • Profile picture of the author Pedro Ferreira
      I usually mark the most important pages, highlight stuff, write comments on the margins, and if I do take notes I do them in such a summarized way that other person would probably not understand them. I usually use pen and paper for that.

      But those quick notes work for me as a key to unlock all that content that I just read and that I might forget in a few days.

      Reading things over and over again really helps a lot too. I used to do that in school and I could memorize a lot of stuff in a short period of that doing that. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Bumstead
    "The dullest pencil is better than the sharpest memory." IMO
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    • Profile picture of the author glennshep
      I absolutely take notes, whether it's when I'm reading a book, watching a video or listening to a piece of audio.

      This doesn't negate the value of actually going through the book, video or audio many times. But taking notes helps me to pick out the key points and gives me a something to refer back to. Also, taking notes during a presentation can help you to stay focused and reduces the chances of your mind wandering.

      Equally, going through something many times doesn't negate the value of taking notes. No matter how many times you go through something you may still find something that you missed before, or something just pops into your mind that didn't previously. That is another reason to take notes. If an idea pops into your mind then you can write it down there and then but if you're just sitting there and relying on yourself to bring that idea back later then you run the risk of losing it.
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      • Profile picture of the author t3cn1c0
        Well, when reading something taking down notes is a must for me. Not all of the vital information can be retained in your memory, so it is really better to take down the important details of something you are reading.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    What about reading it once fully without the distraction of note taking interrupting the flow of reading, and then reading a second time taking notes of key things that inspire ideas? (Not that there's a right or wrong way, just curious if anyone may do it like this)

    I just find when I take notes as I go through a book it distracts me from really "getting" the message of the book as I'm more focused taking notes as I go...so really it's not til I read my notes that I get a summary version of the books thought process...dunno...maybe it's just me?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Harris
    I agree, Dexx, in post 23, in case someone else has replied by the time I type this!

    Reading a document or watching a video the first time with no distractions is how I do it. Then re-watch as I take action/notes for reference.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEOAiko
      I don't take notes. But I use a marker to highlight a line or paragraph which I think I would want to re-read or remember. Love my stabilo luminator
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  • Profile picture of the author WarrenPeterson
    I used to take extensive notes on everything, books, videos, conferences, etc... A few years back I switched to alternating my methods, so to speak. I will now read, watch, listen, with nearly zero notes on the first time through, and on the second time through I create my notes. On the third time through, zero notes again; fourth time create new notes, etc... Obviously not everything is worth going through that many times...

    Especially at conferences, I used to be there with my notepage and/or laptop essentially documenting everything. Now I focus my entire attention on the presenter and his/her information. Sometimes I will jot a phrase/concept down if it strikes me with that level of importance.

    I've found this alternating system most effective, for me.

    PS - I also read faster this way, and when there is a big pile of books waiting to be read, making the entire processes more efficient, is a positive benefit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    My thoughts exactly Warren, I too have about 20+ books waiting to be read. I'd rather read through them all and get their general content sooner, and then go back and document key sections.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnB23
      I absolutely take notes.

      As you're reading, sometimes your brain does a double take. A new thought or paragraph comes in that makes you think. If anything makes you stop and think, absolutely write it down.

      Something I heard in a Jay Abraham seminar,

      (paraphrasing),

      "If an author spent 20 or 30 years in a field writing a book, then spent 6 months editing it, then another few months finishing it up, it's foolish for you to think you can comprehend it all in one reading". Something to think about.
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