• Chetneet Chouhan

Making case for using your commonplace notebook as a Commonbullet notebook

How to get out most from the books you read.


Making case for using your commonplace notebook as commonbullet notebook

Bullet journaling is a way to capture the past, living the present, and plan the future. It's a conscious way of living. It's made by Ryder Caroll. 


A commonplace notebook is a notebook where you store favorite quotes and scribblings. It is kept by everyone from Leonardo Da Vinci to Benjamin Franklin. 


Commonbullet notebook is invented by me. (Yes I am bad at coming up with names). It's a combination of a bullet journal and commonplace notebook.


This is a combination of technical stuff from the bullet journal and the philosophy of commonplace notebooks. And made this - Commonbullet journal.



The problem it solves

After highlighting the (physical or digital) book, you export notes and done with it. But those highlights that you took time to drew were somehow resonated with you.


And just letting them rest on different books or different notes won't help it. The problem here is portability.


This can be easily solved with digital notetaking apps (like Evernote or Notion.)


But I want to argue that the most effective way to really condense core lessons or insights of hard-hitting-books is by writing them in bullet form in your notebook.


And a result I expect? you have all those insights in bullet form in one tangible notebook.


What are hard-hitting books?

Those books which are important for your current life situation. For me, Sublet Art Of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson, 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson, and some others. Hard-hitting books are different for everyone. I have already written a separate post for its details.


But the point is this, you should re-read those books.


Why re-read hard-hitting books?

There is some time lapsed between you first read a book and the next time you read.


In that lapsed time, you get more life experience but with lessons from that hardhitting book. Because you have read them once.


The rule of opportunistic mindset applies here, if you think of opportunities every day, you will find them, if you think of problems every day, you will get more. Hence if you just read about something you care about and want to improve, you will constantly find opportunities to apply newly learned things in real life.


And with that experience, when you re-read the same hard-hitting book, the density of insights you get is huge.



The best way to re-read is by re-writing them in your own words

Cal Newport argued that the most ineffective way to study your notes is to re-read them. "Learning To Learn" course paints the same picture. Because you are not putting your brain into use.


And active recall method is the best way to learn something for an exam. By seeing the question and then trying to write the answer (without looking at the answers).


But in the context of reading books for your self-improvement for action-taking purposes, (not for an exam) you can lower the threshold by just re-writing those notes in your own words.


And re-writing those highlights that resonate with you forces you to extract what made you highlight them in the first place (here you are putting your brain to use). Because you can't actually re-write everything you highlighted.


As a result, you have the most important highlights in your own words of books that you adore into one notebook. Who says sex is the best thing.


And this is how you get the most out of important books that you read. 


I will talk about technicalities in upcoming blog posts.


For now, get a notebook with over 200 pages, leave 15-20 pages in the beginning, then write the book name as heading and keep writing about what you are reading.


Do let me know what you all think.


How to set up a CommonBullet notebook has been published.

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