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How I remember what I read

Hey friends, I like to think I read a lot of books (you can follow my Goodreads profile to see all my
How I remember what I read
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #68 • View online
Hey friends,
I like to think I read a lot of books (you can follow my Goodreads profile to see all my past/current books). But a major problem I have is remembering key insights from those books and actually applying them to my life.
Over the years, I’ve discovered 2 methods for making this easier.
1 - Kindle Highlighting
I’ve been an evangelist for the Kindle since 2008, and credit it as being the 2nd most valuable thing I’ve ever bought (after the camera that started my YouTube channel). One of my favourite aspects of reading on the Kindle is that I can highlight anything that resonates with me. Over the past 11 years, I’ve built up a library of over 2,000 highlights from hundreds of books. I used to review these highlights occasionally using the Kindle app, but never did so with any regularity until I discovered…
2 - Readwise
Readwise (affiliate link) is probably the single most valuable app that I pay for across any of my devices. It’s an online service that connects to your Amazon account and automatically imports all your Kindle highlights. Every morning thereafter, it sends you an email with 5 random highlights from your library. Since September 2018, the daily Readwise email is one that I’ve read religiously. Each day, I stumble upon wisdom that I chose to highlight in a previous life, and often I come across highlights from my favourite books that are spookily relevant to what’s going on in my life.
Readwise can also sync your highlights for each book to Evernote - this is super helpful when I’m working on YouTube videos or blog posts. For example, let’s say I’m writing about productivity (as usual), I just do an Evernote search for the word ‘productivity’ and in addition to all my notes about it, it’ll find all my Kindle highlights containing the word too.
Finally, if you use Instapaper (as I now do) for saving articles to read later, you can highlight those articles and Readwise automatically syncs those highlights straight to Evernote as well.
If you don’t use a Kindle (your loss lol) or don’t have a lot of highlights, this won’t be of any use to you. But if you do, and you find like me that you’re reading a tonne of stuff but struggling to remember and apply it, this combination of Kindle highlights + Readwise is a superpower.
Have a great week!
Ali

This week's podcast
Stuff I enjoyed this week
1 - Podcast - This episode of Sam Harris’ podcast where he interviews Ricky Gervais was excellent. Lots of interesting discussion points, from fame and fortune to comedy and freedom of speech. Some laugh-out-loud moments too, as you’d expect.
2 - Podcast - I recently discovered the podcast “My First Million” that interviews people about how they become millionaires. This episode interviewing the founder of Hot or Not (a huge website in the early 2000s) was very entertaining and insightful.
3 - Book - I started reading Ready Player One last night. I watched the movie a few months ago and absolutely loved it. I’d heard the book was 10x better so I started reading it (on Kindle obv), and I’ve got to say - it’s got one of the most impressive openings I’ve ever read. Normally it takes me a while to get into books, and I recognise that I have to ‘give them a chance’ much like many TV series, but the book hooked me from the first paragraph and made me stay up well into the early hours of morning reading it. I’ll report back when I’m finished with it.
Kindle Highlight of the Week
My happiness seems to me no more attached to what I earn (once past that watershed point of not having money troubles) than it does to my wallpaper. And I know more than my fair share of wealthy people and they’ll tell you the same.
From Happy by Derren Brown. Resurfaced via Readwise.
This week's video
How I Manage my Time as a Doctor + YouTuber - 9 Time Management Tips (2019)
How I Manage my Time as a Doctor + YouTuber - 9 Time Management Tips (2019)
Did you enjoy this issue?
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends, I'm Ali, a Cambridge medicine graduate now working as an FY1 junior doctor. I spend most of my spare time making YouTube videos, but every Sunday I send out an email 'newsletter' with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discover on the internet.

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Ali Abdaal, Cambridge, UK.