• Shreyas Prakash

Uploading my Brain Online

This is how I imagined myself reading books before:

Once I finished a book, to be honest, I didnt remember much. Maybe some points here and there, but not so vivid.

I've always had this notion that there was a leaky hole down there somewhere and all that I was reading was slowly disappearing from my working memory, making it difficult to retrieve it when needed.

Andy Matuschak in his infamous essay 'Why books dont work' talks about how there is this implied assumption while reading non-fiction that people absorb knowledge by reading lines and sentences, which is almost always not true. Books need to be chewed and digested, and part of what makes the book, a part of you is when you are able to connect the ideas in the book with your own foundations.

And that's when I started taking detailed notes on Kindle. Five years back.

This ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made. Inspired by Nat Eliason, I’ve collected notes from over 150 books since then, and I use them almost every day to influence my writing, business decisions, podcast episodes, or thinking through various problems in my life.

If I want to remember the core lessons from Simone Beauvoir's Second Sex, and how I could learn from the world's most famous feminist, I would pop up my notes and muse on some fragments...

Or when I need to remember the ways we deceive ourselves when it comes to social media usage, I reflect on my personal notes from Jaron Lanier's 10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts to be more mindful of my social media usage and to be conscious of the implicit games they play with. I could spend an afternoon scrolling through all 150+ books, glancing through my notes on them, and quickly get back up to speed with everything I’ve read the last five years:

It’s been an incredible resource for my creative output, and I want you to be able to use it for yours as well.

There are plenty of ways you could take advantage of it:

  • Quickly skim my notes before deciding if you want to buy a book.

  • Refresh the core topics from books you may have read years ago.

  • Search for books that cover topics you’re curious about, or want to cite as sources.

  • Sound really smart by being able to reference tons of books you haven’t read.

And since this is the actual notebook I take my notes in, you’ll also automatically get one or two new book notes each week. Order once, and you get lifetime access to my growing list of notes from the books I’m reading.

If you went out and bought all of these books, you’d pay around $3,000. If you then spent the 3-6 hours reading each book, and 1-2 hours taking notes on them, it’d take you anywhere from 800 – 1,600 hours to recreate this.

Almost an entire work year of reading and note-taking.

I like this quote by Alain de Botton a lot. Something along the lines of - 'Take good ideas and make them available to a wide public'. So, I have this crazy idea to give lifetime access to my book notes all for free. No strings attached.

Once you purchase for $0 on Gumroad (or whatever you please), you’ll get sent to the notebook which you can add to your own Evernote account (or just save the link if you don’t use Evernote).

You’ll immediately be able to search all of my book notes, copy text out of them, make copies of them to remix into your own notes, and most importantly, you’ll have access to the core of my last five years of exploration into learning, self-improvement, fitness, travel, money, and all of the other topics I explore on this site.

Ready to dive in? Order below through Gumroad or click on the link here


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