Chances are you were taught to take notes in high school and saw it as a strategy for studying. You either stuck with the approach you learned or tweaked it slightly. What if I told you there was a new way to take smart notes? This approach could make you not just a better student/learner, but a better writer and thinker.
Enter Sönke Ahrens who has translated a book titled How to Take Smart Notes. This book starts with an impressive discussion of the source of this technique to take smart notes, developed by a tremendously productive and renowned sociologist Niklas Luhmann. Honestly, the book held enough interest for me in simply reading about him that I loved it before I really got into it!
The book, as promised, explains a new way of taking notes. And while I haven’t yet implemented it, I believe it holds great promise. But the reason I am recommending it goes beyond that approach itself.
Early in this 2nd edition, there is a line that I believe is profoundly true:
Every intellectual endeavor starts with a note.
This points to the power and importance of writing in the thinking process. And I would guess for many like me, the challenge then becomes keeping, finding, and using those notes to greater advantage later.
This book will provide you with a new approach and paradigm that allows you to take smart notes. But it is more than that. You will use those notes to think more clearly, write more effectively, and therefore have greater impact when you share your ideas with others.
The author says the book is for students and non-fiction writers. And I see why they might get the most advantage from understanding and applying the ideas. But ultimately, aren’t all of us both of those things?