How I Consume Books

Having consumed 14 books so this year, I think it’s safe to say I’m a nerd for reading. The other day, someone asked me how I manage notes from the books I read so I thought I’d share that process here (with you other aspiring nerds).

Of the 14 books I’ve read this year, 11 were Kindle on iPad, one was physical, and the other two were audible. I multitask and read the audibles during cycling sessions and my many hikes through airports — but Kindle is my bread and butter.

I’ve started to get pretty strict on how I consume each one. I say “consume” because my process takes ‘reading’ a few steps further, allowing me to absorb the highest volume of value I can from each book. Here are the steps I follow religiously with each book:

How I decide what to read

Anytime someone I trust makes book recommendations, I buy at least one of them immediately. I don’t write down a note to do it later — I literally open my phone, type it in, and buy it with one click on Amazon. I’ll even tell you: “hold on, I’m going to buy it.” So my Kindle is always loaded with recommended titles. And if the list ever gets slim (rarely), I’ll solicit suggestions, “what’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?”. I also love to buy books from the same author of other titles I like. Even though I buy them all. I certainly don’t read them all*.

*Note that I am one of the more financially scrappy people you will meet, but I NEVER penny pinch on books. The potential ROI is too large. Books are invaluable, like a lottery where the odds are significantly tilted in your favor.

Why Kindle? Simple: it’s on both my phone and my iPad. I can read them from anywhere (instead of opening Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram). I also rely on the highlight feature in the cloud. Notes are the top deliverable from this exercise. Here’s how I record them: As I’m reading Kindle on my iOS, I highlight everything I want to look at again. Studies say you only retain 10% of what you learn from reading. But the same studies show that we retain 75% of what we learn when we practice it and 90% when we teach it. Notes should be taken to create curriculum, both for yourself (practice) and for others (teaching). Highlight everything you want to see again so you can come back to it, record it, and retain it. When you’ve finished reading the book, you’re not finished consuming it until you do these 6 things:

        1. Go to



      • Copy every note you took



      • Paste without formatting in Google Docs



      • Find the fluff text (i.e. ‘Delete this highlight,’ ‘Add a note,’ ‘Read more at location’) and replace with blank text



      • Copy over to an Evernote, file under a folder named “Books” and delete the GDoc



      • Reference 5 times in the next month for yourself and others


      Here’s a video walkthrough


Hope that helps!

Submit a Comment