Zettelkasten Forum


A short Jordan Peterson clip on processing reading/lectures

edited October 2017 in Research & Reading

A short Jordan Peterson(JP) clip (2+ minutes) @ youtube that succinctly puts together a lot of the ideas/suggestions behind processing reading that echo ideas the blog over the past few years:

How to read and understand anything .

Some notes:

@36s

JP mentions how to process books into your own thoughts =>
- don't highlight/underline as that is psuedo work
- read a few paragraphs or an essay, close the book and write down ** your own** thoughts on the reading
- write down what you are thinking in the context of what you are thinking about

This seems to mirror many of the principles that Christian mentions in his reading article: https://zettelkasten.de/posts/reading-putting-it-all-together/

@1m03s

JP discusses how he remember things extemporaneously during a lecture via thinking things (ideas) out:
- he has thought through what he has read
- he relates to all sorts of other ideas
- asks if he believes it
- thinks how he can criticize it

He relates this process to creating 'memory hooks' in '5 different' which feels exactly link linking a Zettel to another.

He also mentions once he has gone thought the process this he 'gets' the idea and it becomes 'part of' him.

@1m34s

JP emphasizes how this process is part of recall versus recognition.

@1m57s

He notes that we should separate reading and note taking => his steps are
READ => THINK => WRITE or READ => WRITE THINK (as he notes writing and thinking are quite similar) which basically parallels the READ => PROCESS => CREATE ZETTEL

@2m05s

JP advises against reading a book and copying a sentence down. He emphasizes that you must read a sentence => close the book => reformulate it => then it is yours

Some of my own general comments:

  • Many clever people basically create mental Zettelkasten like Jordan Peterson describes => run into idea, play w/ it, connect it to other ideas

  • Much note taking and highlighting/underlining is pseudo work and collection. And in a GTD sense they are open loops => scattered pieces strewn around reminding us to think and process about whatever we noted, highlighted, or underlined => most never get to the thinking part

End

Thx for reading. Any other comments are appreciated!

Also I must thank the mods for allowing editing!

Comments

  • To me, all the different methods are interconnected by the Levels-of-processing effect.

    You have to do something with what your read rather then just believe that you are just a robot and repeat same things over and over again.

  • This is a funny take on the matter, because it works backwards than what we normally say:

    Many clever people basically create mental Zettelkasten like Jordan Peterson describes => run into idea, play w/ it, connect it to other ideas

    The "metal Zettelkasten" you talk about sounds, well -- like the first brain, the real wet-ware in your skull, as opposed to the second, externalized brain in your archive. :) This is what learning means: to create memory hooks, and to aid and practice recall. Making stuff your own is important so it really becomes part of you, as opposed to rote memorization, which only sticks for a while.

    I'm torn about JP's advice about highlighting. Not leaving even the subtlest of marks in the text makes finding the passage later much harder. In the older workflow posts on this blog, the distinction of "collect" and "read" was important. (As far as I'm concerned, it still is!)

    A book is usually not written in a linear fashion. It is written once, and then worked over again and again. Contextual cross-references exist. You have to start somewhere in the net of related ideas when you create a manuscript; but everything's inter-related. So to understand a book and its cross-connections fully, you'd have to read it twice. Or you read selectively, start at the end, skim through the whole book quickly to get a feeling, thus replacing the first reading with something more time-efficient. The data you collect through these preparations aids understanding when you then begin to read the book in full. -- And this is where the "collect" phase comes into play. At first, a lot of things sound interesting. You collect these; and when you are done with the book and ready to process its ideas, you can bring everything into context. You will now look at your first collected note with knowledge about the whole book. This supposedly makes a huge difference and helps to throw away stuff that, in the larger picture, turned out to not be useful to keep around.

    So this is why I believe (as in: have not measured) interacting with the book while you read is useful to create a first rough selection of material, and when you process this collection, the time to think things through is better spent.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • edited November 2017

    @enzhmzy said:

    • Many clever people basically create mental Zettelkasten like Jordan Peterson describes => run into idea, play w/ it, connect it to other ideas

    Reminds me of how Charlie Munger and Alan Kay think about knowledge acquisition. Neither take notes, both read all the time (Kay's estimate is between 15k to 19k books read during his lifetime while Munger has read 3-4 books per week all his life), both spend a lot of time thinking about what they read and work hard to integrate it into their existing maps of mental knowledge. Munger calls his methodology "a latticework of mental models" while Alan Kay is less rigorous in describing his methodology but speaks of "working hard to remember what you read by hooking it into what you already know." (paraphrased) I'll leave it to the reader to decide if their approaches are worth emulating... a question one can only really answer by a study of their life work, their writings, and their speeches.

    Perhaps the difference between mental-only knowledge work, and "second-brain" knowledge work is the intention of how the knowledge will be used? Are mental-only methodologies like Munger's & Kay's best suited for general knowledge work where the goal is to develop a cohesive world-view? Are "second-brain" metholodogies like Luhmann's & Lichtenberg's best suited for specialized knowledge work where the goal is to develop a specific body of work (book, texts, media) or perhaps a rumination upon a specific topic?

    @sfast said:

    You have to do something with what your read rather then just believe that you are just a robot and repeat same things over and over again.

    Indeed. What form that "something" takes should be explored by the individual and this exploration should be encouraged, instead of the over-emphasis on rote memorization so commonly taught (and/or incentivized) in most school institutions today.

  • I think actually never thought about the objectives this way. I summed them up like this

    1. Do you read to produce texts? Then take notes and work with a Zettelkasten, because that will increase your productivity and output.
    2. Do you read to learn for life? Then spend time thinking about what you read, read a lot to learn more, and integrate it into your mental models or maps of knowledge.

    Previously, I figured reading good fiction to affect my thinking was special; but you can read non-fiction with the same intent of affecting your character and thought. That could also be useful to understand why I process some books after I finish them with the Zettelkasten Method, and why some very inspiring books just lay around for ages: the desired effect really was to inspire, not to result in dozens of hours of processing notes.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • edited November 2017

    @ctietze said:
    I think actually never thought about the objectives this way. I summed them up like this

    Thank you for attempting to summarize. May I suggest your summations should be considered hypotheses and subject to testing by each individual? I have not yet attempted to summarize my thoughts as succinctly as you and probably will not until I am closer in age to Munger and Kay. I think that I do not as yet have the life experience necessary to form a responsible summation, and would prefer not to hold any ideology too intensely (especially ideologies of epistemology!)

    1 Do you read to produce texts? Then take notes and work with a Zettelkasten, because that will increase your productivity and output.

    What are some methods to test this hypothesis? Are we sure that optimizing for productivity/output are desired? How does one weigh productivity/output against quality? Are they even exclusive goals?

    2 Do you read to learn for life? Then spend time thinking about what you read, read a lot to learn more, and integrate it into your mental models or maps of knowledge.

    Am I wrong in thinking that the better I practice # 2, the better I might be at producing well-informed and thoughtful texts? Are # 1 and # 2 exclusive? Put another way: to what degree does our "mental models" or "maps of knowledge" influence the texts we produce?

    These are questions I'm thinking about lately. I've never thought about them before now nor answered them for myself since I've always assumed that I knew the answers already! See: https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/81/

    Previously, I figured reading good fiction to affect my thinking was special; but you can read non-fiction with the same intent of affecting your character and thought.

    Indeed, biographies and auto-biographies are especially powerful in this regard.

  • Another branch of this idea is the Feynman Technique. It does rely on note-taking during the initial study, but the emphasis on arranging the new knowledge so that you can explain it to others seems to work well, for me at least.

    I see that in your description--I watched the video, which was one way of doing it, but then you pulled it apart, reassembled, and restated it.

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