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ref: 89db8a0db3b15ad1a131b443ccfe2a0d5f08170a sive.rs/site/bfaq -rw-r--r-- 6.3 KiB
89db8a0d — Derek Sivers formatting 4 months ago
                                                                                
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<title>about my book notes | Derek Sivers</title>
<meta name="description" content="At sive.rs/book I have a collection of my notes from the 250+ books I’ve read since 2007.">
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<header>
<div class="blogparent"><a href="/blog">Articles</a>:</div>
<h1>about my book notes</h1>
<small>2018-04-17</small>
</header>

<p>
	At <a href="/book">sive.rs/book</a> I have a collection of my notes from the 250+ books I’ve read since 2007.
</p><p>
	This page is just to answer some questions about it.
</p>
<h3>
	My notes are not a summary of the book!
</h3>
<p>
	When I’m reading and come across a surprising or inspiring idea, I save it.
</p><p>
	That’s all my notes are.
	I’m not summarizing the book.
<strong>
	I’m just saving ideas for myself, for later reflection.
</strong>
</p><p>
	If I’m reading a book about a subject I already know well, I’ll have very few notes, because not much surprised me.
</p><p>
	I kept these notes private for years, but decided it couldn’t hurt to put them on my site.
</p>
<h3>
	Notes don’t replace the book
</h3>
<p>
	It makes me sad when people email to say thanks for my notes because it saved them time from reading the book.
</p><p>
	My notes are just some tiny tidbits with no context.
<strong>
	It’s like reading a punchline without the joke.
</strong>
	If you hear an elaborate joke, then the punchline — (“The little piece of rope said, ‘No. I’m a frayed knot!’”) — is all you need to remember the full joke.
	But if you just hear the punchline, without the joke, it makes no sense.
	I just save the punchlines to remind myself what I’ve read.
</p><p>
	Again: these notes are really just for me but I’m sharing them on my site.
</p><p>
	If you look through a book’s notes and like the ideas, please go read the whole book.
	It gives so much more context and meaning.
</p>
<h3>
	“How do you choose the rating?”
</h3>
<p>
	My 0-10 rating is <em>not</em> just how much I liked the book.
	It’s how strongly I would recommend it to almost anyone.
	So a great book about an obscure subject, like the culture of Switzerland, would get a low rating even if I loved it, because I wouldn’t recommend it to most people.
</p>
<h3>
	“How do you use these notes?”
</h3>
<p>
	This will always be changing.
</p><p>
	For the past few years, when I have a few minutes, I’ll just pick some book from the past that might apply to a situation I’m working on now, and re-read all the notes on it.
</p><p>
	I’ve also used them to research a certain subject, like discipline for example, I’ll go search all notes for any mention of discipline, and re-read the thoughts on that subject.
</p><p>
	Eventually instead of them being saved in a single text file per-book, I’m going to feed each individual idea into a database, tagged, so I can use some interesting lateral thinking tools.
	I set up the software to do this, but it’s going to be very time consuming, because most ideas will need editing to become stand-alone ideas, not needing the context of the notes before and after them.
	So for 250 books, about 100 ideas per book, that’s 25,000 ideas I need to edit.
</p>
<h3>
	“Why don’t I see __(some book)___?”
</h3>
<p>
	I do read fiction, but I don’t take notes on it.
	For fiction, I prefer audiobook.
</p><p>
	I also read hundreds of books before 2007, but didn’t start taking notes until I realized I was forgetting what I had read.
</p><p>
	And ultimately, I only read things that apply to my life or current interests right now.
	I say no to all requests, and publishers asking me to do reviews.
</p>
<h3>
	“Which one should I read?”
</h3>
<p>
	Whichever one seems to apply to your current situation.
	I find books most useful when they solve a problem I’m having now.
</p><p>
	By default I have <a href="/book">the list</a> sorted with my top recommendations up top.
	But really the best one for you is the one that speaks to your current situation.
</p>
<h3>
	“Don’t the authors get mad?”
</h3>
<p>
	No, but this was my biggest surprise!
</p><p>
	The main reason I didn’t post these for years is because I assumed it was against copyright law.
	But I quietly tried it, without announcing it.
</p><p>
	Then as the site got more popular, I was scared I’d get in trouble, but instead I got emails of thanks from the authors of those books.
	Maybe especially since I really am trying to get people to go buy the books whose notes they like.
</p>
<h3>
	“Exactly how do you take these notes?”
</h3>
<p>
	When reading a paper book, I just underline or circle the bits I find surprising or useful.
	Then when I’m done reading the book, I type those bits into a text file.
</p><p>
	On Kindle, I just highlight the bits I find surprising or useful.
	Then when I’m done reading the book, I connect the Kindle by USB, copy the «/documents/My Clippings.txt» file, and edit from there.
</p><p>
	Either way, I tend to edit a lot, and re-shape the sentences into something that works for me.
</p>
<h3>
	“Hey you might like this other book summary site!”
</h3>
<p>
	No.
	I don’t want to read summaries of books.
	I like reading the whole book!
</p><p>
	I aim to read even harder books, like “<a href="/book/HowToReadABook">How to Read a Book</a>” describes well.
</p>
<h3>
	Go to <a href="/book">sive.rs/book</a> to browse the notes.
</h3>
<a href="/book"><img alt="" src="/images/bookstand.jpg"></a>

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