Highlighting books and articles is great, but it means nothing if we don't have the information we highlighted handy when we need it.
The value of highlighting things comes from it serving a purpose in our lives or business. If we can't access the information quickly and easily, highlights have little to no value.
Here is a quote I highlighted recently: that says it well...
In the past, we'd have to go through each book or article and search for our highlights manually.
If I remembered that there was a line I liked from the book Range by David Epstein, I'd have to find the book and flip through the pages until I found it.
This is not a system that we can scale and leverage in any meaningful way.
Thankfully, there is a tool that brings all of our highlights into one place.
It's called Readwise.
Readwise helps bring all of them together so that we can organize and reference key ideas when the time comes.
What Is Readwise?
Readwise (Readwise.io) works as a cross-device web and mobile-based application that helps you get more from everything you read, and it does this in 3 ways.
#1 It brings all of your highlights together
#2 It allows you to tag and search for your highlights
#2 It encourages you to review past highlights
The review aspect of Readwise is clever. It references your past highlights and sends you an email periodically as a “daily review” that reminds you of a select number of them at a time.
The concept is based on a scientific process called Spaced Repetition. According to the concept, resurfacing old highlights at spaced-out intervals helps you recall the information better long term.
You can customize what highlights you see and how often you see them.
If you don't want to receive the daily email, you can opt out of it entirely or adjust the time between emails.
Frankly, I don't care too much about this part of it, but many people seem to like it, and I don't doubt its logic.
For me, Readwise is all about bringing the highlights together.
Readwise Import and Sync Connections
Readwise pulls all of your Kindle highlights into one place for easy review and organizing.
Kindle is the most important integration for me, but Readable also pulls highlights from sources like iBooks, Pocket, and Instapaper.
Side Note: You can access your Kindle notes for free any time manually at https://read.amazon.com/notebook
If I highlight passages on any of these programs, they will sync with Readable so I can reference my best highlights later.
Readwise isn't limited to just article highlights and Kindle highlights, though. We can even use Readwise to extract highlights from physical books.
Simply snap a picture of the text you want with the Readwise app, highlight it, and there you go! You've saved it.
If you're taking a picture from a traditional book, you can search the Readwise database to find the cover so you can keep things nice and organized, just like your Kindle Highlights. Readwise automatically appends the book's data to your highlight.
Here is a list of all the different non-Kindle sources you can integrate with Readwise.
Feedly, Pocket, Web Clipper, and Kindle are my biggest sources of highlights.
Readwise Export Connections
Although I love the Readwise app and interface, I prefer all of my highlights in Notion, where I can search through them and quickly use them in real-world projects and tasks I'm working on.
Readwise lets us easily export highlights into Notion and Evernote, the other big-name player in the note-taking space.
Once you've set up these integrations, Readwise will automatically sync your highlights in the future.
It can export in markdown or CSV format as well.
Other integrations are listed, but I don't recognize the tools (Obsidian, Logseq, Roam, Mailbrew, and Remnote).
Readwise for Sharing
Readwise makes it easy to share your highlights with others.
You can share individual quotes as images (like the one I shared at the beginning of this post, or you can share some or all of your highlights as a "digest" that is available via email or a unique direct.
For example, you can see my highlights at this URL https://readwise.io/@bnathanielbmccallister
It's a very cool way to stay connected with your friends and colleagues and share the best of the things you're currently digesting.
Readwise has two plans, offering a regular and “Lite” version.
Readwise Lite costs $4.49/month, while the full version of Readwise costs $7.99/month. If you pay annually, you'll save 20%
Try it out, though, before you buy it. Readwise offers a free 14-day trial.
If you're an avid highlighter like I am and want to get more use out of the things you're highlighting, Readwise is a tool you should consider.
If you're on a budget, the expense might seem high, but if there is any place better to invest money than your own education, I have yet to find it.
Combined with Notion, it's helping me more easily find and reference my best highlights and get inspiration from key ideas I usually wouldn't see.
I'm not paid by Readwise to endorse it here; I'm just a raving fan. Definitely go check it out!