Don Snyder, a.k.a. Don the Idea Guy (author of the BrainBlog, has come up with a unique tool that helps him to capture the key ideas in a book, and makes them easier to retrieve later on. He calls it the Novel Ideas Bookmark.
His methodology evolved from sticking Post-It notes in books to using index cards to record his notes. But now he has moved a significant step beyond that with what he calls the Novel Ideas Bookmark. It’s a bright yellow 8×6 card that folds to 4×6 for easy storage in an index card storage box. It provides plenty of space to capture all of the ideas contained in the typical book. Here’s how it works:
“The front of the card is horizontal and contains spaces for book title and author’s name to allow for easy filing. The card opens like a book and the inside is ruled to allow for journal-like entry of important points in the book. I list the page number and then the concept I wish to note. The back of the card includes additional ruled lines for final points. I also included a spot on the front of the card to list the most valuable lesson I learned from the book, as well as a favorite quote… Once a book is read, I can replace it on my bookshelf and file the card/bookmark in my office for future referral. I can file books on subject, author, or title – and information is always on-hand.”
Don figured that other people might be interested in this idea, so he went ahead and had them professionally printed. You can order packets of the Novel Idea Bookmark from his blog page. I think this is a very simple and effective way to extract and retrieve the knowledge from the books you read.
The only way I could possibly imagine making it better is if all this information was stored in electronic form, so it would be searchable. But who wants to balance a book on one knee and a laptop on the other one?