Gather, study & learn digitally with Readwise

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Back when books were [exclusively] made of paper, I would consume technical and business books by the backpack load, marking them up with yellow, green and other color highlights. If I really wanted to learn the book, I'd do a second pass, only reading the highlights and highlighting over the first color with another color.

For years I've searched for a simple way to gather my Kindle bookmarks and actually get some value out of them. I missed being able to do something with my highlights. Today, thanks to a chance online encounter with Ian Jones over on Dev.to, I learned about an awesome SaaS tool: Readwise.

Readwise makes it easy to gather your Kindle bookmarks. And your bookmarks from Instapaper, iBooks, Pocket and the web. And through a simple hack, you can start actually getting the use out of all those expensive technical PDFs you've bought from developers and designers, like the excellent Refactoring UI.

So Readwise gathers all your highlights. Then what?

  • browse the highlights by book, or article,
  • see a selection of highlights in a daily email,
  • tag highlights so you can pull together material across source,
  • share with friends/coworkers,
  • browse, review and learn highlights with spaced repetition built in.

This last feature is a gamechanger. Let's say you're trying to absorb how serverless functions work. You have bookmarks scattered all over the place: web pages and [highlights(https://help.getpocket.com/article/1144-highlighting-in-pocket)] in Pocket in Firefox or Chrome, Kindle books like this one, pdfs that came in epub format as well or that you converted over.

With Readwise, you can turn all those highlights into flashcards, and drill on them until you know the material. (short rant: if you're not spending 25% or more of your worktime learning new things, you'll find yourself out of work in a year or two - been there, done that, it sucked.)

There are other features in Readwise I'll let you discover/explore during your free 30 day trial, but really, Readwise had me sold the moment I saw my highlights from both Kindle and PDFs available together. A max of $8.99/month.