Use Obsidian to Take Notes on Books


When I read something I want to make sure that I understand it. For a long time now I’ve been keeping physical notebooks to go with the non-fiction that I read. I think that the requirement to write down anything important in a book is a great filter because if it’s too much work to write down then the idea/quote/content isn’t valuable to you.

Another great step in turning my book notes into long term learning resources is compiling my written notes into something that I can turn into a book review. As you’ll see the notes I put in iA Writer and the notes I store in Obsidian are different. Obsidian is for idea development with a mind towards linking notes and ideas together. The book review notes are for a summary of the book to help ensure I understand what the author was talking about. Secondarily, my reviews are for consumption by others via my site and my YouTube Channel.

It’s also useful to note that I no longer simply type out a monolithic note for long term storage in DEVONthink. That left me with 123 ideas in a single note and while I could link to it, I would have scan the entire note to know what was important or not important. That also meant any time I referred to any idea in a book from another resource it linked to the whole book instead of the idea I wanted to reference. That’s not sustainable in a way that makes it easy to find ideas.

Today, we’re going to walk through how I use Obsidian and iA Writer to both setup my book reviews and build out notes for future learning. After converting only around 15 books to this new format, I’m finding stuff faster and devoting more time to convert the other 200 books I have notes on into this format.

Current Book Note Template

Author: 
Notebook: 
Review:

## Summary

## Key Ideas

## Further Lines of Inquiry

## Quotes

## TODO

- [ ]

## Tags

## Resources Mentioned
Getting Started with Obsidian Course

Getting Started with Obsidian

If you want to learn your way around Obsidian so that you can build a great note system then this course is for you. I’ll cover basic folder structure when to use tags or links, and the plugins I think everyone needs to make their Obsidian experience excellent. Plus much more. If you want all my courses, become a member.

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Getting Started with Zettelkasten

If you’ve been wondering about what Zettelkasten is and how to start organizing your notes with this excellent system then this course is for you. I’ll cover the basics of choosing which tool to use, how to take notes, how to deal with linking your notes, and much more. You can also become a member to get all my courses.

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