Zettelkasten Forum


How Long Is Too Long?

Hello Fellow ZK people,

I have been reading about and constructing my own ZK for a few months after trying to find a single place for all of my notes from reading books.

I was wondering if you could share your ideas on how long a typical node should be? I started out with very short notes and paraphrasing my favorite quotes or ideas from books I was reading. Now, I have been basically making one node as a practical summary of the book I am reading, with multiple different nodes that branch off for each large topic or chapter. Here is an example from the book "Ultralearning" by Scott H. Young:

I do enjoy having all of the information from a book formatted in a practical way, however, I find that making a single node this long deters me from wanting to keep working on the project with how much time it takes to add a single node to the ZK.

What do you think?

Comments

  • @TheLibrarysStudent said:
    Hello Fellow ZK people,

    I have been reading about and constructing my own ZK for a few months after trying to find a single place for all of my notes from reading books.

    Welcome. Using your ZK for book processing and learning notes is great. I have processed 37 books. Not as many as so, but I'm starting to get the hang of it and am seeing the interconnectivity through my notes.

    I was wondering if you could share your ideas on how long a typical node should be? I started out with very short notes and paraphrasing my favorite quotes or ideas from books I was reading.

    A positive activity.

    Now, I have been basically making one node as a practical summary of the book I am reading, with multiple different nodes that branch off for each large topic or chapter. Here is an example from the book "Ultralearning" by Scott H. Young:

    This is a Literature/Structure Note. Beautifully done with links and contextual information about the links.

    I do enjoy having all of the information from a book formatted in a practical way, however, I find that making a single node this long deters me from wanting to keep working on the project with how much time it takes to add a single node to the ZK.

    What do you think?

    I think you've made this note a bit too precious. By that I mean, there is too much substance in the note, I'd make it a pointer, an entry point for review and research. One of its value is that in the future you can link to it and be presented with the whole book and all your notes around the book. What is precious are the notes referred to in a Literature/Structure Note. I use Literature/Structure Notes for organizing my processing of the book. Usually ontologically (first chapter to last) but not always.

    I'd put "Do Your Research", Schedule Your Time", and the other ideas in their own notes. You might consider being more concise in the context you give each note. Sometimes at least. Here is a snippet for a book I'm processing Rationality: From AI to Zombies Eliezer Yudkowsky

    ## Proper use of Humility
    - [[201912011048]] Motivated Skepticism 
    ## The Third Alternative
    - [[201912011058]] False Dilemma
    ## Fallacy of Gray [[201912041713]] 
    - "That which I cannot eliminate may be well worth reducing."
    - [[201912041725]] Gandhi And Stalin
    ## Absolute Certainty [[201912071552]]
    - the difference between religion and science. Religion looks for absolute certainty where in science there is always a possibility give the right probabilities [[201912071601]]. Sometimes too small to even consider.  
    - [[201912071603]] Better Vs. Worse Options
    - Looking closer at things will clarify them.
    ## How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3
    - Mind-reality entangling process [[201912071620]]
    ## Infinite Certainty [[201912071628]] 
    - [[201912071632]] Math with Infinity
    ## Your Rationality is my Business (Chapter 56)
    - Answer to "What business is of mine to question your "beliefs"?
    - My interest in future generations and the building of knowledge is the primary reason for my concern about your rationality. Here rationality is strongly related to truth telling. This applies to the present generation too.
    - [[201912140828]] Truth Telling Rationality 
    - [[201912140833]] Politics Is The Mind-killer. Arguments are soldiers.
    - [[201912140845]] Birth Lottery
    

    I think you are on the right track and I usually create a verbose note at first then when it gets rambling or contains too many ideas, I slipt into smaller notes and place links to them in the Literature/Structure Note. Check out how @ctietze processes books in his videos. I learned a lot.

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    Hope this helps.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • Thank you @Will for your ideas, They have really helped me look at how I approach the note-making process.

    I have watched a few of the videos you mentioned and found them to a really good source of ideas thank you for mentioning them to me.

    Do you use your ZK for personal ideas and thoughts as well or just for topics you read about? I have yet to add any of my own ideas to my ZK as I have been gathering all of my past notes on my books into a single place.

  • @TheLibrarysStudent I do use my ZK for ideas that strike me from the clouds, like gifts from the universe. How else to get the integration necessary so that my ZK can surprise me when I ask it questions during research?

    An area I limit my notes from is the normal human collection of information detritus like journaling, todo lists, web clippings, a reference manual for lawn mower, and stuff like that. I personally use Evernote for all that stuff. ZK is for thoughts, ideas, creativity, and connecting ideas together.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

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