Readwise – the app that finally organized my books

I’m in love with my Kindle. The “paper has a soul” narrative never really felt compelling to me. Try travelling for a month with a backpack and carrying 4-5 books with you. You’ll soon wish for them to have a little bit less of that soul. Seriously, being able to take hundreds of books wherever I go is a freaking superpower.

There are just two things about paper books that I miss in my Kindle. Sharing it with a friend is the obvious one, though a family account at least solves the problem of sharing books with my partner. Whatever he buys, it immediately appears on my list and vice versa.

But on top of that, I like to revisit some of the books I enjoyed. Sometimes, it’s opening them on a random page and absorbing whatever wisdom comes up this way. Other times, it’s trying to recall a passage I found profound but only remember 2-3 loosely connected words. And despite all the amazing features Kindle has, opening a book on a random page or searching for a specific phrase in all books by a certain author are not among them.

You might say, this is what highlights are for. And yeah, I’ve been consistently highlighting books since 2015. Artur makes fun that there’s more highlighted parts in some chapters I read than non-highlighted ones. Guess how many times I revisited them? Three. Then I realised Kindle Cloud Reader doesn’t even allow to copy text and share it online.

Being the automation geek that he is, Artur has a very elaborate system of transferring his Kindle highlights to Evernote. I tried it once, and it didn’t stick. If I lived and breathed Evernote like he does, it might have probably worked better for me. But it didn’t, and the highlights just kept piling up.

Luckily, it turns out I’m not alone with this problem, and some people found a great solution already. automatically pulls all the highlights from my Amazon account, sends me a daily digest with 5 random ones, and lets me organize them using tags. Oh, and by the way, I can share them with one click and have the quote nicely formatted, like it is here:

Even though I don’t read all of my books on Kindle, and not all of those I do were purchased on Amazon, this has already been a game changer for me. All the time I’d previously spent wondering “What was it exactly that Carl Sagan said about our understanding of technology?” or “What was exactly the experiment that Jonathan Haidt did to understand morality?”, I can find them in less than a minute without having to dig through hundreds of misquotes on Google.

This post is neither sponsored by Amazon nor Readwise, and doesn’t contain any affiliate links. I simply think they’re amazing. If you’re like me in that you read a lot and wish to someday come back to what you’ve read, you should totally check them out. In the meantime, here are my top 12 most highlighted books:

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