How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking

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Sonke Ahrens, 2022 - Academic writing - 177 pages
3 Reviews
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This is the second, revised and expanded edition. The first edition was published under the slightly longer title "How to Take Smart Notes. One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking - for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers".


The key to good and efficient writing lies in the intelligent organisation of ideas and notes. This book helps students, academics and other knowledge workers to get more done, write intelligent texts and learn for the long run. It teaches you how to take smart notes and ensure they bring you and your projects forward.

The Take Smart Notes principle is based on established psychological insight and draws from a tried and tested note-taking technique: the Zettelkasten. This is the first comprehensive guide and description of this system in English, and not only does it explain how it works, but also why. It suits students and academics in the social sciences and humanities, nonfiction writers and others who are in the business of reading, thinking and writing.

Instead of wasting your time searching for your notes, quotes or references, you can focus on what really counts: thinking, understanding and developing new ideas in writing.


Dr. Sönke Ahrens is a writer and researcher in the field of education and social science. He is the author of the award-winning book "Experiment and Exploration: Forms of World Disclosure" (Springer).

Since its first publication, How to Take Smart Notes has sold more than 100,000 copies and has been translated into seven languages.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - deldevries - LibraryThing

A five star non-fiction book has ideas that link to existing knowledge but expand, interpret, and connect in new ways. The author does that with smart notes. Although there is "technique" in this book, the most valuable writing is the linkage to prior research and thought on how we learn and work. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ericlee - LibraryThing

What a long title for such a short book! A short book – but not an easy one. Ahrens is clearly an academic and this heavily footnoted book, full of citations and references, actually tells a simple ... Read full review

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About the author (2022)

Dr. Sönke Ahrens is a writer and researcher in the field of education and social science. He is the author of the award-winning book Experiment and Exploration: Forms of World Disclosure (Springer).

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