How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens

My summary of the book How to Take Smart Notes by Sonke Ahrens.

How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

If you are into PKM (Personal Knowledge Management), the book How To Take Smart Notes is a must-read. Sönke Ahrens introduces the world of the Zettelkasten (slip-box), the note-taking system Niklas Luhmann used to produce 70 books and nearly 400 articles during his career.

The ideas in this book are geared toward academics and those working on writing projects, research, or Dissertations. Many techniques are helpful for everyday note-takers, but it's important not to get caught up in thinking this is the only way to take notes.

A blank page

When we are ready to share something with others, writing is not what we do. Instead, it is part of the process of research, learning, studying, and thinking.

We should look at things we can do long before facing the blank page. Having our notes written in our own words, with context and references, will allow us to meet the blank page excitedly. Because we know all we need to do is pull it all together, we've already completed the hard part.