10 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2021
    1. Whatever note-taking system you use, it’s important to remember that notes aren’t essays or transcripts. Make the effort of summarization. Not only you will better remember what matters, but it will be much easier to dig into your notes later, which is the whole purpose of note-taking. I personally force myself to write one micro-note that is under 300 characters per notable item. A one-hour meeting often results in only five or six micro-notes.

      The idea of a micro-note is very interesting and a good take-away from this article.

      Micro-note <= 300 characters

  2. Jul 2021
    1. ask yourself which tangential questions it brings up. What were you curious about as you wrote it? What aspects of your piece deserve further exploration? Is there a wider issue to look at? Or one single element that could merit a couple of thousand words of its own? For every piece, find at least three new ideas that could be explored as articles. These may be in the form of questions, and only further research will reveal whether or not they can become pieces of their own.

      Keep this in mind as a good practice.

    1. How a memory palace works When we’re learning something new, it requires less effort if we connect it to something we already know, such as a physical place. This is known as elaborative encoding. Once we need to remember the information, we can “walk” around the palace and “see” the various pieces. The idea is to give your memories something to hang on to. We are pretty terrible at remembering things, especially when these memories float freely in our heads. But our spatial memory is actually pretty decent, and when we give our memories some needed structure, we provide that missing order and context. For example, if you struggle to remember names, it can be helpful to link people you meet to names you already know. If you meet someone called Fred and your grandmother had a cat called Fred, you could connect the two. Creating a multisensory experience in your head is the other part of the trick. In this case, you could imagine the sound of Fred meowing loudly. To further aid in recall, the method of loci is most effective if we take advantage of the fact that it’s easiest to remember memorable things. Memory specialists typically recommend mentally placing information within a physical space in ways that are weird and unusual. The stranger the image, the better.

      This notion of using spatial memory to encode other concepts - or even the P-A-O sytem where a 2 digit number encodes a person performing an action is an interesting idea for someone like me who forgets quite a bit.

    1. The 8 Steps of Taking Smart Notes Ahrens recommends the following 8 steps for taking notes: Make fleeting notes Make literature notes Make permanent notes Now add your new permanent notes to the slip-box Develop your topics, questions and research projects bottom up from within the slip-box Decide on a topic to write about from within the slip-box Turn your notes into a rough draft Edit and proofread your manuscript He notes that Luhmann actually had two slip-boxes: the first was the “bibliographical” slip-box, which contained brief notes on the content of the literature he read along with a citation of the source; the second “main” slip-box contained the ideas and theories he developed based on those sources. Both were wooden boxes containing paper index cards.  Luhmann distinguished between three kinds of notes that went into his slip-boxes: fleeting notes, literature notes, and permanent notes.  1. Make fleeting notes Fleeting notes are quick, informal notes on any thought or idea that pops into your mind. They don’t need to be highly organized, and in fact shouldn’t be. They are not meant to capture an idea in full detail, but serve more as reminders of what is in your head. 2. Make literature notes The second type of note is known as a “literature note.” As he read, Luhmann would write down on index cards the main points he didn’t want to forget or that he thought he could use in his own writing, with the bibliographic details on the back.  Ahrens offers four guidelines in creating literature notes: Be extremely selective in what you decide to keep Keep the overall note as short as possible Use your own words, instead of copying quotes verbatim Write down the bibliographic details on the source 3. Make permanent notes Permanent notes are the third type of note, and make up the long-term knowledge that give the slip-box its value. This step starts with looking through the first two kinds of notes that you’ve created: fleeting notes and literature notes. Ahrens recommends doing this about once a day, before you completely forget what they contain. As you go through them, think about how they relate to your research, current thinking, or interests. The goal is not just to collect ideas, but to develop arguments and discussions over time. If you need help jogging your memory, simply look at the existing topics in your slip-box, since it already contains only things that interest you.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you turn fleeting and literature notes into permanent notes: How does the new information contradict, correct, support, or add to what I already know? How can I combine ideas to generate something new? What questions are triggered by these new ideas? As answers to these questions come to mind, write down each new idea, comment, or thought on its own note. If writing on paper, only write on one side, so you can quickly review your notes without having to flip them over. Write these permanent notes as if you are writing for someone else. That is, use full sentences, disclose your sources, make explicit references, and try to be as precise and brief as possible.  Once this step is done, throw away (or delete) the fleeting notes from step one and file the literature notes from step two into your bibliographic slip-box. 4. Add your permanent notes to the slip-box It’s now time to add the permanent notes you’ve created to your slip-box. Do this by filing each note behind a related note (if it doesn’t relate to any existing notes, add it to the very end). Optionally, you can also: Add links to (and from) related notes Adding it to an “index” – a special kind of note that serves as a “table of contents” and entry point for an important topic, including a sorted collection of links on the topic Each of the above methods is a way of creating an internal pathway through your slip-box. Like hyperlinks on a website, they give you many ways to associate ideas with each other. By following the links, you encounter new and different perspectives than where you started. Luhmann wrote his notes with great care, not much different from his style in the final manuscript. More often than not, new notes would become part of existing strands of thought. He would add links to other notes both close by, and in distantly related fields. Rarely would a note stay in isolation. 5. Develop your topics, questions, and research projects bottom up from within the slip-box With so many standardized notes organized in a consistent format, you are now free to develop ideas in a “bottom up” way. See what is there, what is missing, and which questions arise. Look for gaps that you can fill through further reading. If and when needed, another special kind of note you can create is an “overview” note. These notes provide a “bird’s eye view” of a topic that has already been developed to such an extent that a big picture view is needed. Overview notes help to structure your thoughts and can be seen as an in-between step in the development of a manuscript. 6. Decide on a topic to write about from within the slip-box Instead of coming up with a topic or thesis upfront, you can just look into your slip-box and look for what is most interesting. Your writing will be based on what you already have, not on an unfounded guess about what the literature you are about to read might contain. Follow the connections between notes and collect all the relevant notes on the topic you’ve found. 7. Turn your notes into a rough draft Don’t simply copy your notes into a manuscript. Translate them into something coherent and embed them into the context of your argument. As you detect holes in your argument, fill them or change the argument. 8. Edit and proofread your manuscript From this point forward, all you have to do is refine your rough draft until it’s ready to be published. This process of creating notes and making connections shouldn’t be seen as merely maintenance. The search for meaningful connections is a crucial part of the thinking process. Instead of figuratively searching our memories, we literally go through the slip-box and form concrete links. By working with actual notes, we ensure that our thinking is rooted in a network of facts, thought-through ideas, and verifiable references.

      This is the most important part of the whole article and worth coming back to time and time again.

    1. Four kinds of notes Fleeting notes These are purely for remembering your thoughts. They can be: fleeting ideas, notes you would have written in the margin of a book, quotes you would have underlined in a book. They have no value except as stepping stones towards making literature and permanent notes. They should be thrown away as soon as their contents have been transferred to literature/permanent notes (if worthy) or not (if unworthy). Examples: Jellyfish might be ethically vegan, since they have such a simple neural system, they probably can't feel pain. Ch. 9 How to attention attend: One thing at a time. No multitasking When writing, attend to idea flow. Meaning, not wording. ... Literature notes These summarize the content of some text, and give the citation. Example: (Kahneman & Tversky, 1973) shows that people often do not take into account the prior when doing a Bayesian probability problem. In particular, when no evidence is given, the prior probabilities are used; when worthless evidence is given, prior probabilities are ignored. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. “On the Psychology of Prediction.” Psychological Review (1973) Such notes could be made in Zotero, which is how I do it. You might make them separately in some other notebook software, or just in plain text files. Permanent notes Each permanent note contains one idea, explained fully, in complete sentences, as if part of a published paper. There are many tools available for storing the permanent notes, see Tools • Zettelkasten Method. I personally recommend TiddlyWiki. Project notes These are notes made only for a project, such as a note that collects all the notes that you'd want to assemble into a paper. They can be thrown away after the project is finished

      The four kinds of notes for Zettelkastren. I am trying to construct a Zettelkasten and this helps classify the types of notes. Makes tags in TiddlyWiki.

    1. As a result, “elaborate on an idea” / “keep going” seems like a primitive operation to me -- and, specifically, a primitive operation which involves paper. (I can’t translate the same thinking style to conversation, not completely.) I’m sure that there is a lot to unpack, but for me, it just feels natural to keep developing ideas further.

      The question I have is, is "elaborate / keep going" a notetaking operation that one uses in the notebook? Would you leave space for elaboration later on and "keep going" somewhere else? That is like a Zettel

  3. Jun 2021
    1. Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric, by Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann. How could a company as big and successful as GE fail? I’ve been thinking about that question for several years, and Lights Out finally gave me many of the answers I was seeking. The authors give you an unflinching look at the mistakes and missteps made by GE’s leadership. If you’re in any kind of leadership role—whether at a company, a non-profit, or somewhere else—there’s a lot you can learn here. Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Kolbert’s latest is the most straightforward examination of “humanity versus nature” on this list. She describes it as “a book about people trying to solve problems caused by people trying to solve problems.” She writes about a number of the ways that people are intervening with nature, including gene drive and geoengineering—two topics that I’m particularly interested in. Like all of her books, it’s an enjoyable read. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama. I am almost always interested in books about American presidents, and I especially loved A Promised Land. The memoir covers his early career up through the mission that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. President Obama is unusually honest about his experience in the White House, including how isolating it is to be the person who ultimately calls the shots. It’s a fascinating look at what it’s like to steer a country through challenging times. The Overstory, by Richard Powers. This is one of the most unusual novels I’ve read in years. The Overstory follows the lives of nine people and examines their connection with trees. Some of the characters come together over the course of the book, while others stay on their own. Even though the book takes a pretty extreme view towards the need to protect forests, I was moved by each character’s passion for their cause and finished the book eager to learn more about trees. An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives, by Matt Richtel. Richtel wrote his book before the pandemic, but this exploration of the human immune system is nevertheless a valuable read that will help you understand what it takes to stop COVID-19. He keeps the subject accessible by focusing on four patients, each of whom is forced to manage their immune system in one way or another. Their stories make for a super interesting look at the science of immunity.

      Bill Gates, 5 ideas for summer reading

    1. Every single day, imagine that your employees are volunteering to work for you. Treat them accordingly.

      From Medium, Management Matters.

    1. The salient point then is that in our march to simplify reality with useful models, of which Farnam Street is an advocate, we confuse the models with reality. For many people, the model creates its own reality. It is as if the spreadsheet comes to life. We forget that reality is a lot messier. The map isn’t the territory. The theory isn’t what it describes, it’s simply a way we choose to interpret a certain set of information. Maps can also be wrong, but even if they are essentially correct, they are an abstraction, and abstraction means that information is lost to save space. (Recall the mile-to-mile scale map.) How do we do better? This is fodder for another post, but the first step is to realize that you do not understand a model, map, or reduction unless you understand and respect its limitations. We must always be vigilant by stepping back to understand the context in which a map is useful, and where the cliffs might lie. Until we do that, we are the turkey.

      I like the point that the theory is the way we choose to interpret a certain set of information.

    1. Despite these hardships, it’s so easy to see that the young people who wrote these autobiographies weren’t living in constant fear. I know they wouldn’t have been so passionate about love and friendships and finding a job or going to school if they weren’t filled with that incredible hope that comes with being a young adult. They were at that age so many of us look back on with fondness and nostalgia, when we were old enough to say, Fuck yeah, that’s what I want, or Fuck you, I’ll do what I want. And also young enough to have a long future, without the need to commit to one thing or one person. You imagine having a lifetime to become yourself and achieve your dreams.

      I think this is really the point of the article.