This book changed the way I take notes, forever

Book Summary: How To Take Smart Notes by Sonke Ahrens

Here are most important ideas to take your notes to the next level

Matt Giaro
8 min readNov 25, 2021


Book Summary: How to take smart notes by Sonke Ahrens

This is a complete Book Summary revealing many insights from “How to take Smart Notes,” written by Sonke Ahrens.

This book has acted like an earthquake in the world of knowledge management and note-taking in the past few years.

There are many nuggets and actionable advice to take your note-taking to the next level.

Are you ready?
Place your seat in the upright position and fasten your seatbelt..

The Main Idea Of the Book

Before starting off, let’s isolate the core idea of this book.

The goal here is to understand how to take notes the right way (=smart) and ensure they bring you and your projects forward.

So the big thing here is that the notes start having a meaning.
This meaning is to bring you and your project forwards.

This mind-shift changes everything.
You’re not taking notes simply to “not forget” or to retrieve information.
The main purpose is to utilize them to achieve a specific outcome, i.e., bring you forward.

But in order to achieve this, you have to change your habits.
Because this type of note-taking may seem counter-intuitive at the beginning.

It requires thinking instead of archiving.
It requires writing instead of copy-pasting.

So be ready to get uncomfortable.
Be ready to get incompetent for a few weeks until you’ll be able to practice this new workflow.

As Seth Godin puts it:
“In order to change, you must become incompetent again. This change always creates incompetence on the way to a new kind of competence.”

It took me several months to grasp and embrace this new “smart” note-taking method.
In fact, I am still refining and adjusting it every day…



Matt Giaro

6 Figure Creator. Helping experts turn their ideas into income with online content (in just 2h/day.) Start now 👉