How to Apply a Book to Your Life

By Ethan Maurice | October 13, 2015

Last week, I read an eye opening book called Growth Hacker Marketing, which outlines the principles that successful startups (Dropbox, Uber, Facebook, Twitter etc.) used to effectively grow their businesses. It's a short read, but it's loaded with principles I'm looking to apply to an online business I'm co-founding. It was critical for me to extract the pertinent information from the book and apply it directly to our business, which I believe now has a much better chance of success.

I used a simple, effective system to mark and apply everything I felt was important to our business. You can use this system with any book you're trying to learn from, to apply it directly in your life. It rocks.

Here's how it's done:

1. Read the book with a pen or pencil in hand. Underline or circle what's most important and applies.

2. Once you've finished the book, go back through. Decide if each marked instance has value. If it does, write the quote on a notecard. Write the page number too, so you can reference it. Repeat for every instance you marked and find applicable on a separate notecard.

3. Now you have a stack of notecards with the most valuable information from the book. One by one, read them, ponder how to apply that information, and write that on the back of the notecard.

4. Now you have a stack of notecards with important actions to take. Organize or put them in a logical order. For me this was a chronological order of when I'll apply each insightful idea to our business.

5. Take action.


For an example, here's one of my notecards:

Back (Action)

Front (Quote)

notecard 1
notecard 2

Organizing My Notecards

many notecards

A Couple Pointers

  • Use notecards, not paper. Notecards rule. You can move them around and reorganize them as needed, an essential component of the process.

  • Don't worry about how many cards you have. Just include what will applicably help you. I had about 35 notecards for this book, I've had as little as 15 from others.

  • Use a different color of ink on each side of the notecard. It makes them quicker to reference and easier to organize.

*Need a book to try the system with? Check out the Bookshelf.




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