Highlighting with Readwise

JANUARY 29, 2022

I'm reading through Andrew Witt's new book, Formulations, on a Kindle Paperwhite. As I prepare for an incoming podcast conversation discussing the book with him, I'm enjoying a narrative in which Witt manages to tie together a bunch of technological developments and their repercussions in science, design, and culture, as well as a lack of connection of knowledge that introduced jumps and rediscovery of similar notions in different parts of the world.

I like flipping pages. But there's something I get from reading on Kindle that I wouldn't get from reading on paper: accurate highlighting and passage tagging on the go. For several years, I've been a happy Readwise user.

In a nutshell, you can highlight a passage, add a note with a phrase prefixed with a period—say, .creativity or .facts—and Readwise will sync your Kindle highlights to their system with the corresponding tags and notes. One of my favorite features is the use of the .h1, .h2, and .h3 tags to signal headers of levels one, two, and three, respectively, for Readwise to structure your book highlights according to its structure. And you can also use the .c1, .c2, .c3, etc. tags to concatenate different sentences or paragraphs in a single highlight skipping the non-relevant parts in between.

In particular, for this interview, I'm highlighting things that could be relevant for our discussion with the .interview tag, which will allow me to quickly revisit those without interrupting my flow taking notes while reading.

Readwise supports a vast amount of highlight sources (not only Kindle), including in-app scanning and transcribing passages from physical books.

How do you revisit your highlights?