COULD I SHARE three quick discoveries I've made while using Readwise as a core tool of my personal knowledge management? I've learned some things that would help loyal readers who are knee deep into their PhD research.
Readwise helps me master books.
I have nearly 500 hard cover books in our home. I haven't read more than 120 of them from cover to cover--although I've read several at least twice. Reading is important and remembering is super important for someone like forgetful me. I want my 11yo son seeing me read the books on shelves behind him while he surfs for television content in our sitting room because I know he wants to learn.
I learn by reading. As I read, I often manually add snippets of text from my personal bookshelf collection to a shared Readwise library I've started with 14yo Mia. The structured repetition of selections from Readwise helps me master the written material scattered around us. This is transformative.
Readwise converts my handwriting.
For years, I've been concerned about what would happen if I lost the decades of handwritten working notes I've compiled in the hundreds of Moleskines I've used and kept.
The highly efficient text extraction capability of Readwise has ensured I can revisit evergreen ideas I've annotated decades ago. The Readwise process is ten times faster than Microsoft Office Lens. It would be a superpower for anyone saddled with written research notes.
Pro Tip: If you want easy scanning from a smartphone, write your notes with dark lead or black ink in straight lines with white space between paragraphs.
API Love for Shortform.
Like a true power app, Readwise offers an API key and that is helpful when a share sheet isn't available for a process. I use the Readwise API to burrow directly into Shortform to read titles that help me think and teach better. As I read, I highlight passages that later drop into my Readwise collection.
My 14yo daughter shares access with several of my Readwise services so we're getting a two-for-one special that is sweetened by thoughtful material I'm enjoying in conversations. I know parents who lose touch with their teens as they grow. Being able to converse through shared snippets of media text is glorious.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches digital transformation for the Technological University of the Shannon where he unpacked important elements of personal knowledge management for students.]