If You Aren't Taking Notes, You Aren't Learning

Ben Casnocha recently wrote about the learning benefits that come from taking notes, starting with an observation about a large event in Silicon Valley:

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg addressed a large auditorium of young entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. He shared lessons from his journey and his perspective on the state of the internet industry. Every seat was taken, and the 20-somethings who aspired to entrepreneurial greatness were listening with rapt attention.

According to my friend who relayed this story, there were two older folks in the front row who stood out: John Doerr and Ron Conway. They are both legendary investors in Silicon Valley.

They stood out not just because their gray hair shimmered in the sea of youth around them, but because they were the only people in the audience taking notes.

Isn’t it funny, my friend told me, that arguably the two most successful people in the room after Zuckerberg were also the only two people taking notes?

In my work, I really like it when I see people taking notes, whether in linear form or as a mind map. It strikes me that they are really listening, and are trying to interpret the spoken words into a form to aid understanding, insight … and to direct later action. It’s an idea I recommend in the Engagement chapter of Collaboration Roadmap (2011) too, and in many spheres of my life, I try to practice it myself.

Are you a note-taker? What works for you? While you could leave a comment here, please comment instead on Ben’s original blog post.

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