- Apr 2022
The Jesuit Francesco Sac-chini, in contrast, commended the interruption in reading that resulted fromstopping to copy a passage into one’s notebook: it slowed down reading and aidedretention.44
A study of Samuel Johnson (1709–84) has identified four different kinds of reading in which Johnson described himself engaging: “hard study” for learned books read with pen in hand, “perusal” for purposeful consultation in search of information, “curious reading” for engrossment in a novel, and “mere reading” for browsing and scanning “without the fatigue of close attention.”216
"Mere reading" today consists of a lot of scrolling through never-ending social media posts on mobile phones....
More detailed work in the history of reading has cast aside the strict periodization and the suddenness of change implied in the notion of a “reading revolution.”215 Rather than sudden shifts, I trace the development and spread of new methods of reading along-side the continuation of older options. Consultation reading existed among the learned in earlier centuries, and in an unbroken line of transmission at least as far back as the thirteenth century, so the most distinctively new kind of reading in the eighteenth century was not consultation reading but rather engrossment in the novels that were a new and successful genre. Conversely, “intensive reading,” classically identified with repetitive meditation on the Bible, was also practiced in the eighteenth century, in religious circles at least, for example, among Pi-etists, Methodists, and in Catholic religious orders. (Witness the 1786 publica-tion of Sacchini’s recommendation for intensive reading, which I discuss in the next chapter.) Proficient readers engaged in different kinds of reading depending on the text and their purpose in reading it.
Broad forms of reading: - consultation reading - intensive reading (meditation, religious) - entertainment reading (novels)
- Francesco Sacchini
- consultation reading
- reading with a pen in hand
- note taking methods
- intensive reading
- reading methods
- Samuel Johnson
- active reading
- entertainment reading
- Feb 2022
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In the early chapters Ahrens outlines the general form and method for taking notes for a zettelkasten, though he's not overly descriptive of the method and provides no direct examples.
In the middle chapters he talks broadly about learning research and how the zettelkasten method dovetails with these methods.
He does this almost as if he's a good teacher showing the student an outline of what to do and why, but leaving it up to them to actually do the work and experimentation to come up with their own specific methods of use to best suit their purposes. This allows them to do the work themselves so that they have a better chance of following a simple, but easy set of rules, but in a way that will allow them to potentially more quickly become an expert at the practice.
“The one who does the work does the learning,” writes Doyle (2008, 63) [Section 10.5]
In some sense, he's actively practicing what he preaches as a teaching device within his own book!
I think that this point may be actively missed by those readers who aren't actively engaging with and converting his ideas into their own and doing the work which he's actively suggesting.
Taking smart notes is the deliberate practice ofthese skills. Mere reading, underlining sentences and hoping toremember the content is not.
Some of the lighter and more passive (and common) forms of reading, highlighting, underlining sentences and hoping to understand or even remember the content and contexts is far less valuable than active reading, progressive summarization, comparing and contrasting, and extracting smart or permanent notes from one's texts.
Notes build up while you think, read, understand and generateideas, because you have to have a pen in your hand if you want tothink, read, understand and generate ideas properly anyway
An active reader is always thinking, writing, and annotating. The notes from this process can and could easily be used to facilitate writing and generating new material showing new contexts and new modes of thought.
- practice what you preach
- progressive summarization
- How to Take Smart Notes
- permanent notes
- Sönke Ahrens
- note taking misconceptions
- note taking methods
- active reading
- excerpting vs. progressive summarization