Woolf wrote about the practice in her essay “Hours in a Library”: Commonplace Books and Journaling: Jumping on the Bandwagon Books. The column on the left lists my recent themes: the overarching categories that encompass the knowledge that I gather. The author’s thoughts and my reactions are caught on the page together. Printing made paper and notebooks readily available which served as a tangible catch-all record designed to collect knowledge and ideas as a source of self-reflection and lifelong learning. This is the second post in our series, “Taking Note,” outlining the storied history and styles of note-taking. A commonplace book is a dedicated place (be it a physical notebook or a digital space like Evernote) to record and keep quotes, ideas, aspirations, thoughts, and anything else that might be meaningful for future reflection. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with … Author Steven Johnson gave a lecture at Colombia University titled “The Glass Box and the Commonplace Book” and talked about the history of this system: “Scholars, amateur scientists, aspiring men of letters—just about anyone with intellectual ambition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to keep a commonplace book. Some of the most illustrious examples have been published into books and preserved in archives from Harvard to the University of Texas. Below are some of the best comments, methods and tricks that I recorded while reading everyone’s responses to my piece. Locke began his commonplace during studies at Oxford in 1652, and his widely studied book, A New Method of Making Common-Place Books (1706), outlined the reasons for maintaining order: We extract only those Things which are Choice and Excellent, either for the Matter itself, or else the Elegancy of the Expression, and not what comes next. Looking to evoke curiosity, the desire to learn and discovering what's inside of you. This could be for learning, or simply to re-read, or maybe for citing in an article or book. She ties her analog and digital systems together with Scannable, and spends each Sunday reviewing her material—something that is pivotal to the mental bridge to the material that has accumulated. The rise in popularity of the commonplace book occurred during a point in the sixteenth century when the mass distribution of information catapulted an entire generation into a tizzy. Do a quick Google search of “commonplace book” and you’ll find examples of how people use their commonplace books on paper and on apps like Evernote. “These days, I mark up books with no qualms. Perhaps, a generation from now, the digital commonplace will have a new lease on life for another member of his family. The system perfectly mirrored Jamie’s interactive reading by combining handwritten notes and digital annotations together. This is what my commonplace book currently looks like. As Ryan Holiday notes, commonplace has plenty of utility in our modern life: A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. My heart was still hurting, but I was able to think with clarity because the wisdom that I cherished and found meaningful guided me. Is it because I’m not reading or watching essays/books/videos on this topic or is it a reflection of my inability to spot bits of knowledge and capture them in my commonplace book? The geologist said X, the philosopher said Y, the anthropologist or scientist said Z. It’s fascinating to see a pattern of knowledge on a topic, especially when it comes from different backgrounds; there must be an underlying fundamental truth. Along the way you’ll have a career, or a variety of jobs and positions. This information includes images, quotes, lyrics, and ideas from a book. As author Steven Johnson says: Scholars, amateur scientists, aspiring men of letters—just about anyone with intellectual ambition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to keep a commonplace book. Together with the iPhone app Workflow, Brett uses Evernote to simplify the process. Further, it creates an accessible reference book you can use forever and pass along to others. In this note I have stories, metaphors, and quotes on the practice of clear perception. I send monthly newsletters on ideas that help you master your craft and yourself. The commonplace book is a seventeenth century innovation, and the idea is a simple one: A notebook for capturing interesting quotes from reading, ideas, snippets of text for writings, diagrams, sketches, anything that comes to mind. Programs like OneNote might see a revival of the idea though, perhaps, not the name. Commonplace “was a kind of solitary version of the original web logs: an archive of interesting tidbits that one encountered during one’s textual browsing,” notes Steven Johnson. As an avid reader, I’ve always liked to highlight interesting ideas or meaningful quotes in books, write in the margins to articulate why they’re important and how they might connect to other ideas, and mark the place with a Post-it note. There’s no better system that is built for the way you learn then commonplace. After using Evernote for a while, I realized that it was so much more powerful than I knew and I spent several months trying to think about how to use it as a planner, a Commonplace Book and a study station (for myself). The stuff that matters the most can be saved, tagged, annotated, and analyzed anytime, anywhere. Keep it easy to navigate: The main strength of using OneNote instead of a physical commonplace is that in OneNote it’s easier to accumulate a lot of info (copy-paste, screenshots, writing on keyboard) tag it, and easily search for it. Today, we are bombarded with content, much of it lacking in depth and quality. “With all my notes finding their way into Evernote, they complete part of the picture of me, and along with everything else that’s there, provide a pretty good look into the life of someone living in the 21st century. What is a Commonplace Book. The purpose of the book is to record and organize these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do. A monthly newsletter on mastery and creativity Subscribe. But ideally, you shouldn’t have to search much. On one hand, I love them and all their potential but on the other, I hate the thought of filling one up with anything less than perfectly painted watercolor flowers and calligraphy. In addition to her digital commonplace, she totes around a physical notebook where she can write ideas, forcing herself to add the most complex and interesting concepts, ideas, and quotes by hand. And technology has provided us with flexible frameworks capable of helping us capture, curate, and retain information. Just imagine what some of history’s biggest and brightest proponents of commonplace could do with the system if they had a shred of the technology available to us? © 2020 Evernote Corporation. Author Ryan Holiday said it best in his article showcasing his notecard system: Devon Henderson, a graphic designer from Indiana, mainly uses Evernote for commonplace. Sort of harkens back to the informational disarray that brought commonplace to the forefront. I am greatly intimidated by a blank journal. Capturing these markups, quotes, and thoughts is the most common way that I use Evernote as a commonplace book. Ideas for change-makers hungry for knowledge and actively shaping their best life. With Evernote, all of the content is remarkably easy to find when you need it. Let me show you how basic commonplacing really can be. Countless people throughout history have created commonplace books to catalog the knowledge they’ve learned from life experience, books, mentors, and peers. “Don’t just say you have read books,” said the Stoic philosopher Epictetus. How do you use commonplace? ☆ this is for my journal lovers~ you should start a commonplace book! Never before had so much written knowledge been so widely available. Tool to curate knowledge with the direct benefit of self-reflection and personal growth can create commonplace... Emulate it someday these gems and nuggets of wisdom book isn ’ t a common thing days. 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