How I am improving my reading and research.

I use my Kindle Paperwhite a lot for reading. 

It is outstanding for reading, highlighting parts of the book, reading at night with the light out, and being comfortable on the eyes; it is a pleasure to use.

The Kindle is a must-have tool, and when my current one comes to the end of its life, it will be instantly replaced.

That is how much I love it. 

Me spending money so quickly, it must be a winner.

But! (and there is always a ‘but’ with a big set-up like that)

But, it has one drawback on what I am looking to get out of it as I dig into my studies and research. The highlighting on the Kindle Paperwhite is somewhat limited. 

When I highlight using the Kindle Paperwhite, it only highlights the yellow colour, which is a bit of a pain in the old *ss. (it highlights grey on the device, but when I check on the app on my iPhone, it is yellow)

This is acceptable for reading a non-fiction book or a more lightweight non-fiction book, like an autobiography. Still, on something a little more difficult to digest… like a book that I am lost in and I want to grab a heap of learning from, then is not ideal for my purposes.

I have been playing around with the powerful highlighting and notetaking capabilities of the Kindle app on the Macbook. It is the same as the iPhone and iPad app, but it has a little more functionality. It is easier to take notes next to your highlights that can then be pulled together into a document to email yourself for future reference.

Recently I have been sharing the benefits of reading, grabbing notes and getting a friendly ‘skinny version’ of the book, based on your own notes, by using the iPad and Macbook app.

I have, however, been tied up with not having any discipline around my highlighting. From a productivity viewpoint, I have made more work for myself in some cases.

So, I decided to rethink what I was highlighting and why

This applies to using the apps. This means that I now balance my reading on the Kindle and the apps with much more reasoning.

I read a light read on the Kindle and go hardcore on the apps using the highlighter to get the most from my enjoyable experience. I have thought about the highlights on the apps and wanted to use them to my advantage. 

It is all about productivity, baby.

Here is how…

This is what the order of highlighting in the Kindle apps, on the Macbook, iPad, iPhone;

  1. Red
  2. Orange
  3. Yellow
  4. Blue

So I read through the bad-ass book that I want to get deep into and glean more from then I highlight as I go.

I am highlighting as I read – but I am only using the first three colours: Yellow, Orange and Red.

  1. Red: Interesting
  2. Orange: Review further.
  3. Yellow: Important, so add a quick note now.

I tear through the book and take what I can… highlighting away as happy as can be. 

Note, this is the first read. 

Once I go back for the second read through, I switch to the highlights only view on the notebook sidebar and do my magic by using the following:

How I am using the colours and the order to my full advantage;

  • Red: Interesting stuff. I thought that it would be useful to read again. Some might get moved up the ranking or deleted.
  • Orange: Review this further after reading the book. I now consider writing my own opinion/notes in the sidebar on the second read-through. Some might get moved up the ranking or deleted.
  • YellowThis is important, so I wrote my own quick notes. On the second pass reading, I will convert this highlight into blue after refining my earlier notes.

What I am left with is a bunch of stuff highlighted in one colour (Blue) and some clear and concise notes that I have reflected upon.

  • BlueKeep this – this is what will be the skinny version of the book, and my written notes combine to give me something to keep.


I email myself the exported notes and the ‘blue highlights.’

Job done!!

Footnote: Make sure you work to refine your highlights and notes because some books restrict what you can export.

Beijing in the evening.

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