My Daily Book Review System in 15 Minutes or Less a Day

Have you ever read a good book only to never apply what you learned? It’s not because you are lazy or dumb. Your process failed you. If you will allow me the opportunity, I want to share with you one of the most powerful ways you can grow over the next year.

It’s a proven fact that “learning by cramming” doesn’t stick long term. This was first discovered by Herman Ebbinghaus in the late 1800’s. Not only is he the founder of the learning curve but also the psychological phenomenon called the “spacing effect.” The spacing effect teaches us that we more easily remember items that are studied a few times spaced over a long time span. This is where the power of a book review system comes into full effect.

While much of my book review system comes from my own creation, I do need to give credit to Nathan Latka and his approach on the topic. During this blog post series, you’ll learn:

  • How to read one book per week
  • How to index books, whether paperback or Kindle, and get them into Evernote
  • How to daily review the books you’ve read in 15 minutes or less
  • How to do a weekly review of older books you’ve read
  • How to do a monthly review of even older books you’ve read
  • How to ultimately become the most resourceful person you know
  • How to never run out of ideas, quotes, and illustrations for anything you want to create

My Daily Book Review System in 15 Minutes of Less

While it may take a bit to explain, I do my daily book review in just 15 minutes every morning when I first sit down to work. It’s entirely inside Evernote which makes the process so much easier.

1. Index or highlight the books you read

If there’s one reading habit you should cultivate, it’s being an active reader. An active reader highlights meaningful parts of a book and indexes them for later review. This can be done with both physical books and Kindle books. Either way, you should be active.

A passive reader is someone who is reading and not engaged. Have you ever read a page or two in a book only to forget what you just read? If so, you’re a passive reader. Read with a pen or highlighter in hand.

2. Add completed books to your book review system in Evernote

As I’ve mentioned before I like to read one book per week. Once I finish reading a book, it’s time to get it into my book review system inside Evernote. You can read how I do this with physical books here and how I do this with Kindle books here.

Once inside Evernote I place a few simple tags:

  • What it is (book notes)
  • The year (2015)
  • Where the note is in my book review process (either “daily, weekly, or monthly”) Note: I change this tag as the book moves through my system (more on this later)

I then created a saved search for “Daily Review, Weekly Review, and Monthly Review” and placed it in my shortcuts sidebar (see pic). This way all I need to do in the morning is click on “daily review” and I can review just the books I have with those tags.

3. Review each book daily for 15 minutes for four weeks

Each morning I click on “daily review” and read though my indexed notes or highlights of each book. You will be amazed at what you recall and act upon by simply just reviewing this content over and over again. I do my daily book review every morning Monday through Friday.

At the bottom of each Evernote note I have a simple checklist that helps me remember where my books are in my review system (see pic). Each Monday I check the next box so as to keep my books moving through the system.

4. Extract ideas, quotes, illustrations for future use

One of the biggest benefits of reviewing your book notes over and over again is all of the ideas, quotes, and illustrations you get for future use. As these come to you, capture them. You will be surprised at the new revelations you receive even though you’ve read your notes several times before.

In a future post, I’ll share more details as to the weekly and monthly review of books. For now, what questions do you have about creating your own book review system?



    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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