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The Art of Being You

by Clay Lowe


How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book”

Now here's a practice I've done off and on over the years. Keeping a commonplace book. Many of my literary heroes have done so, people like Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, John Milton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge among others. And I've recently returned back to the practice using a digital form on my DayOne app.

Ryan Holiday:

A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organize these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do.

One of the general requirements, and something I love doing, is reading. The trick is to read widely:

Read about anything and everything and be open to seeing what you didn’t expect to be there–that’s how you find the best stuff. 

Mark down the stuff you find interesting or catches you eye in some way. Some people, if they're reading a physical book, scribble in the margins (called marginalia) or highlight and underline passages as they read. If you're a kindle user or iBooks user, you can take notes right into the text.


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