The Focus of the Writer, Filmmaker and Self-Improvement aficionado to become better at a craft, skill and Self with a constant and Lifetime Learning mentality seems one very specific character trait of this creative and driven personality.   Insofar as this goes, I have read most books that I pick up with the perspective that they are textbooks for Learning.  Therefore, I mark the books with highlighter, underline, stars or marks in the margins, circling key terms.

Surprisingly, I stumbled upon an article by prolific author Mortimer J. Adler on ”How to Mark a Book”.   My system was very close to his system.   Some Groups don’t allow to post outside links so search for the article.  His system is:

There are all kinds of devices for marking a book intelligently and fruitfully. Here’s the way I do it:

    1. Underlining: of major points, of important or forceful statements.

    2. Vertical lines at the margin: to emphasize a statement already underlined.

    3. Star, asterisk, or other doo-dad at the margin: to be used sparingly, to emphasize the ten or twenty most important statements in the book. (You may want to fold the bottom corner of each page on which you use such marks. It won’t hurt the sturdy paper on which most modern books are printed, and you will be able to take the book off the shelf at any time and, by opening it at the folded-corner page, refresh your recollection of the book.)

    4. Numbers in the margin: to indicate the sequence of points the author makes in developing a single argument.

    5. Numbers of other pages in the margin: to indicate where else in the book the author made points relevant to the point marked; to tie up the ideas in a book, which, though they may be separated by many pages, belong together.

    6. Circling of key words or phrases.

    7. Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page, for the sake of: recording questions (and perhaps answers) which a passage raised in your mind; reducing a complicated discussion to a simple statement; recording the sequence of major points right through the books. I use the end-papers at the back of the book to make a personal index of the author’s points in the order of their appearance.

He makes a point that one’s reading speed will slow down but I don’t mind that.  I’m working more diligently to remember and utilize the material in the book more than just race through it. ,I embraced the concept that there is a Goal and the specific System to attain that goal.  e.g. My Goal is to lose 10 pounds but the daily implementable system is  1.  Eat specific foods (keto for now) 2.  Get and move.   3.  Walk while I make a phone call for 20-30 mins a few times a day.   Now doing this every day is a System. 

I look at marking the book as part of the System of my Lifetime Learning Goal.  The superb effect of a System is that it can become Routine – and the benefits add up quickly over the long term.