Is the book ",taking smart notes" worth reading?

I finished the book “make it stick” the science of learning ,I want to read the book “take smart notes” is it worth it? Or it will add nothing to the other book?


I haven’t read it, but it has been recommended a few times:

1 Like

I’ve read both of them, and I definitely recommend you read Sönke Ahrens book too. It addresses a more narrow theme, how to develop a system for storing information in writing that is simple yet immensely powerful for idea generation, deep interconnected knowledge and even “natural” memorization (i.e., without the use of mnemonics), based in comprehension and development of meaning in knowledge. It explains the Zettelkasten method, as developed and used by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, as well as it’s principles and the ideas on which it stands. A truly great and useful read, even if a little dry at times.

Personally, it has totally revolutionized the way I read, research and write, and have greatly enriched my intellectual experience of the world. I would also recommend the (free) program called Remnote, which can help to make a great Zettelkasten with a lot of possibilities that a physical one can’t do (I believe the best known predecessor is called Roam-Research, which is great also, but fairly expensive).

Oh, and one more excellent resource (and an amazing example of a modern Zettelkasten -with some peculiarities- in action), maybe for after you have read How to take good notes, are Andy Matuchak’s Notes, which have amazing ideas buried in them, if you don’t mind the difficulty of looking for them without a normal “index”.

Good luck!


I need something inspirational to read, so I picked up a copy of How to Take Smart Notes.

Would you recommend Make It Stick?

1 Like

Hi, Josh!

Not sure if you’re asking me, but I guess if I answer it can’t hurt. I do recommend Make it stick, it’s the best introductory book I know in the current science of learning, and it even has a (small) part talking about the usefulness of mnemonics and the memory palace, and an interesting usage example. However, it may be a little bit basic for you, I’m really not sure. If you are interested in learning in general as a subject, best practices and so on, I’m confident you will enjoy it and learn a lot. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks. It’s an open question for anyone who has read it. :slight_smile:

I’ll check it out after I get through the smart notes book.

1 Like

I read “Make it stick” back in 2018 and collected some passages,that I liked, from it! Here>>>

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (

I consider it a “OK” type book on “Learning how to learn”! I also think,the book “Make it stick” is better than “Barbara Oakley” books(my personal opinion,though)!


I would also recommend “make it stick” cause I’m a living exemple ,I have a child who do so so bad in school teachers told us that he will redouble and repeat the yearfor sure ,I thought him the methods on the book, since one month now he is almost the top students ,the teacher do not believe what is happening.


Thank you for this book. Book is very interesting. :heart_eyes_cat:

As I have commented in other posts, Make It Stick deeply influenced the way I approach studying.

EDIT: Perhaps I should add that it’s main value was not so much in offering brand new learning methods, but more in shifting my thinking about which techniques and approaches are most effective for longer term retention. So, for me, it was primarily about making important adjustments to my existing methods.



Thanks for the recommendations. I downloaded Remnote yesterday. So far, it is excellent, although I am still figuring it out. I especially love the built-in flashcard / spaced repetition tool.

I also bought a copy of the Sönke Ahrens book.

Question: The author recommends using Daniel Luedecke’s zettlekasten app. Are you using Remnote instead-of, or in-addition-to, Luedecke’s tool?



1 Like

Hi, @tarnation, I’m glad you found them useful! I don’t use the SRS features of Remnote, since it still in the development stage and there has been some bugs and problems, and I use Anki for that kind of work, but if it’s working for you, great! I think in the future it will get to a point where I can leave Anki aside (although I use a lot of images in Anki, and prefer to keep Remnote as “slim” as possible, since I have already a few thousand rems of text… we will see).

Let me know what you think of How to take smart notes! When you are done, definitely go to Andy’s notes :slight_smile:

Yah, I use it instead of the Zettelkasten app, I remember Ahrens recommends a few alternatives, I tried a bunch but there is nothing like Remnote in his recommendations. However, Ahrens recently migrated to Roam-Research, which is basically the “original” Remnote, so, I think he would endorse it.

It does take some effort. I recommend you watch all the tutorials in the Remnote youtube channel, and also watch the videos in Mike and Matty’ channel. Good luck!

1 Like

Perfect. Thanks. I just found Mike and Matty’s youtube channel–and their videos on ‘Smart Notes’, which seems to be how they refer to the Zettelkasten method as they imagine using it with Remnote.

BTW, I have read a fair amount of Ahren’s book. It is really changing how I think about writing. I am really pleased with your suggestions. A very big thank-you.


Hey, Darn.

Yeah, there are also (and a lot more) great videos from people using Roam, and you can basically do everything in Remnote, so you can check those too. I like some videos of Shu Omi, like these one:

It did the same thing for me, and not only writing but thinking. A “revolution” akin to that of memory techniques and SRS, in a different direction (2020 introduced me to them three, so I’m really grateful for that, at least, haha). I’m glad you find them useful!

1 Like

I’m glad we exchanging our thoughts because as I saw up it help everybody else,and give some great solution for them “students,searchers,learners and even free lancers”

Yes, it is something very inspirational to read the book. It is one simple technique to enhance writing and learning and also thinking aspect. It is very useful for book, notes, blog, articles, etc. reader and writers. There are many others books like this such as “StoryWorthy” which
Engage, Teach, Persuade and change your life through the power of Storytelling.