How I read 20 articles a day using Instapaper, Readwise, Amazon Kindle, and Roam Research

How I distill information from Substack > Instapaper > Readwise > Roam Research
  • All (well most) input comes into Instapaper
  • From Instapaper, I sync to Readwise
  • If I have Kindle highlights, I either auto-forward the highlights to Readwise, or I use clippings.txt to import
  • I then sync everything to Roam Research
  • In Roam, I use the Zettelkasten method to further connect and distill information
  • I do this by an ‘inbox’ (in Roam), I’ll go through a first pass, and then second pass, and ‘harden’ my notes — stolen from this Tiago Forte post.

The ‘catch-all’: Instapaper.

The use for Instapaper is pretty simple. I use it as my catch-all for all blogs, posts, articles, e-mail newsletters that hit my inbox. There are 2 ways that I get content into Instapaper. I use this as my primary reading app. You can open it up on your iPhone, computer, or iPad and basically highlight and comment on pieces of information you may find interesting.

  • E-Mail forward. You can forward your e-mails to a readlater.xxxxxx@instapaper.com.
  • Chrome Extension. The Instapaper Chrome Extension is also a great way to send articles to your Instapaper account.
Instapaper Chrome Extension
  • Hustle Trends (by fellow Founder Dojo, Sam Parr. They were just acquired by HubSpot!). Access thousands of vetted business ideas you can launch in a weekend and a community who can help you make it happen.
  • Ness Labs: a community of curious humans who want to achieve more without sacrificing their mental health. One weekly email with mindful productivity and creativity tips.
  • Not Boring: Not Boring is the most fun way to learn about what’s going on in business and the strategy behind the decisions companies make. If Ben Thompson and Bill Simmons had a baby, it would look like Not Boring. Written by Packy McCormick.
  • Letters from an American: From Heather Cox Richardson. I’m a professor of American history. This is a chronicle of today’s political landscape, but because you can’t get a grip on today’s politics without an outline of America’s Constitution, and laws, and the economy, and social customs, this newsletter explores what it means, and what it has meant, to be an American.

The Aggregator: Readwise.

Next, I have an auto-sync from Readwise to Instapaper. It will basically pull all Instapaper highlights at a prefixed period of time. This is the point at which I’ll also sync my Kindle highlights to Readwise (every week or so). They also have an option to take a photo of handwritten notes, and a Twitter bot to be able to send interesting Tweets to your Readwise.

The Analyzer: Roam Research.

Roam Research is the holy grail. I’ve been pitching it to so many people, writing this really just feels like I’m a broken record.

Tying it all together: Zettelkasten Method.

Zettelkasten is German for ‘slip-box’, and the most famous execution of the Zettelkasten method was Niklas Luhmann. Niklas Luhmann was a German sociologist who wrote 70 books and 400 peer-reviewed articles in the course of his 30 year career.

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