How To Absorb More Wisdom From Books

So you have just finished an amazing book... you are inspired... the months roll by... and you have totally forgotten what you learned. Sound familiar? Well, I have a quick fix for that. It’s a simple process anyone can follow to make sure the wisdom you found stays with you forever.
Episode Resources
Evernote Stacks

evernote stacks

Kindle Highlight Hack

kindle highlights hack

Welcome back to The Nick Broadhurst Show. I’m your host, Broadhurst. And you can catch all of my music, music videos, and every single podcast episode at And you can check out all of my music on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, YouTube, wherever you listen to music, just by searching for my name, which is “Broadhurst.”

And that song you were listening to is a brand-new release that just came out last week. It’s a remix of my single “Open Wide” by the amazing British artist Etherglow, and that is the Etherglow remix Part 1. You can catch the full tune in today’s show notes, or just head to

Today I want to talk about learning. Do you ever feel like there are these people out there, especially on podcasts, who talk about how many books they read every week or every year? I feel like it creates this FoMO, this book-reading FoMO, this pressure for everyone to try and read a book a week.

And there are even challenges out there to read one thousand books in a year. That just gives me heart palpitations, thinking about it. If you want to go and learn how to speed-read, absolutely, go for it. But for me, personally, I actually love the slow pace of reading. It’s almost like a meditative practice that takes you out of fight-or-flight mode.

But, today, I want to focus on how we retain more of what we have actually read. To me, how much I read is not as important as how much I remember. I’ve got a system that I have followed pretty religiously for many years now, and I call it my Knowledge Base.

First of all, let’s start with what we read on. Yes, I love a book. I love the feeling of paper. But, personally, I can’t justify cutting down that many trees to read a book. I just can’t. And this is why Melissa and I are really passionate, and possibly a bit pushy, to get her first book, Mastering Your Mean Girl, printed on recycled paper.

In fact, it was the first-ever book by that publisher, the biggest in the world, to do 100% recycled, including the cover, which we were very, very stoked about. But this is a big debate, because the carbon emissions and footprint debate isn’t that simple. But here’s a bit of data for you: A single e-reader, like a Kindle – the total carbon footprint for an e-reader is approximately 168 kilograms. For a book, a paper book, this figure is about 7.5 kilograms. Using an average of 7.5 kilograms per book, we can guesstimate that it would take about 23 books on an e-reader to reach a level in which the environmental impact is the same as if those books have been read in paper form.

Now, of course, that makes sense for footprint. I get that, totally get that. But footprint’s one thing. Carbon emissions are one thing. But cutting down trees? That’s another thing altogether. So I think this debate’s a bit more complex.

Anyway, I’ve had my Kindle for four years now, and I average around one book per week. Actually, I made notes here before this call, and I said that’s 26 books in the year. Oh, Nick. There’s actually 52 weeks in the year. Let’s say it’s 52 books in a year. That means I’ve already improved my carbon footprint massively, by double, actually, versus paper books, and I’ve cut no trees down.

And if you do that over four years, that really, really adds up. I don’t care; I don’t have to have the latest Kindle, because I actually love my really basic old Kindle. But reading on a Kindle – the cheapest, most basic version, not the fancy ones – we want the one with no lighting whatsoever. Just the most basic, glare-free screen. I think it’s $79 on Amazon, and it’s just called “Kindle.”

I’ll put a link to it in today’s show notes. But we want no glare because we don’t want blue light. We’ve got enough blue light around us already, from artificial lighting. Reading with blue light really damages the mitochondria in our eyes, and the mitochondria in our bodies. That, my friends, is a topic for another day, which I will do.

But it also gives you another big advantage over reading on paper, and that is the feature called Highlights. So when I read, I highlight anything that makes me go “Wow!” Just the “wow” stuff, not everything. When I finished that book, I’m going to circle back and I’m going to write out all of those notes. Doing this from a paper book is a total pain in the butt, but doing it from a Kindle is a breeze, if you know this one simple hack.

When I discovered this, I was a very happy man. You need to download the Kindle app on your computer. You go to that book, you go to a highlight in that book, you select the text that’s highlighted, and then you choose the More button, and then you click on Google. When you do this, it will do a search in your browser, in Google. Then you simply copy and paste the text directly from the Google search box, and you’re going to put that into the next thing I’ll talk about. If that’s not clear, I will add a screenshot in today’s show notes at to show you how to do this. Please give it a go. This stuff is so powerful.

But where do you put your notes? All my notes go into Evernote. I absolutely love Evernote. In there, I have what’s called a notebook stack. Again, I will post a screenshot of how this looks in today’s show notes. In that stack, I have individual notebooks for all the different topics that I read about. I’ve got stacks for Body, Business and Money, Creativity, Mindset, Music, Spiritual, and Relationships.

Basically, whenever you get some inspiration, you can quickly scan a category of notes and then quickly go in and find a note from a particular book that you want to read. The trick is, don’t move on to your next book until you’ve done your notes. If you do, you will not come back and do those notes. Trust me, because I’ve got eight books needing notes right now, to go into my Knowledge Base, and it’s really annoying, because now I just can’t be bothered. I wish I’d done it before I moved on.

Back to the environment. You can use the Kindle app on your phone, which is also totally fine. If you’ve got a smartphone, download the Kindle app. But if you do – and I did this for years – make sure you use an electromagnetic radiation blocking phone case, like Defendershield or SafeSleeve, and I’ll put a link in today’s show notes.

Always have your phone on airplane mode when you’re reading. The same goes for the Kindle; turn on the airplane mode, unless you’re downloading a new book. With the Kindle, one charge lasts me two weeks, so I very, very rarely have to think about charging it, which is awesome.

One more tip for your phone, especially iPhone: Make sure you use the night shift mode. Just Google “night shift iphone” and learn how to use it. For me, it’s on all the time. I have my phone as orange as possible, to take out as much blue light as possible. It’s always on.

The next trick to make this really come together is to use reminders. When I was going through various relationships and trying to reclaim my masculinity, I would read my notes from The Way of the Superior Man every single day. I did this in my productivity app, which is called Things. I would basically have the notes pop up every single day in Things. I would read them over and over again. I had to get this content ingrained into my brain.

Actually, you know what? I’ll do a show tomorrow on The Way of the Superior Man. I’ll read some of my notes, and I’ll talk about that book, because it’s had such a huge, huge impact on my life. This is for men and women, not just for men. This is just as important for women. So stay tuned for that one.

Anything that you really want to embed into your life, Evernote, Kindle, and Things are now your best friends. If you haven’t heard my episode #2, “Productivity Without the Push,” check it out, because it talks about all about Things. It talks about how I get heaps of stuff done, how I manage multiple businesses.

For me, this is life-changing stuff – well, in my humble opinion, anyway. I also have a reminder in Things that pops up once per week, which reminds me to pick a random note in my Knowledge Base, in Evernote, something that resonates with me at that time, and trust me, when you do this, you always go to a note which is so relevant to you in that time, and it reminds you of something really powerful that you have forgotten and that you need to learn or remember in that moment. It always gives me perspective. It’s really, really powerful stuff.

The last thing is, if a book really resonates with you, do yourself a favor, and someone else, and pay it forward. That means, buy that book for someone else. Or if it’s a physical book, give that book to someone else. Or if you know they use Kindle, you can just gift them the Kindle version, which is quite cheap. Or you can grab your notes and send them your notes.

A dear friend of mine, Terence, he is so organized; he always has his learning from different things, whether it’s a podcast or a book, organized into PDFs, and he sends them to me sometimes, which is super-sweet and super-helpful.

So I hope you found that really supportive, because books are incredible. Everything we need to remember in this world – not learn, because we already learn everything; we just remember – is already written down somewhere. Books are so powerful. I’m not going to say you should be reading, because I don’t want to “should” on you, but… you should be reading. Reading is amazing. It’s just mind-blowing, what we can remember from other people’s journeys. I think this system will really, really help you embed this information in really powerful ways.

And remember today to look up. See the beauty around you. See the beauty within you. Start a practice of paying it forward by gifting someone a book, or sharing your notes. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing, and so simple. Be gentle with yourself today. Be gentle with others. Be love towards yourself. Be love towards others. It’s the greatest gift you can give. Listen to your intuition. Tune in and hear what your truth is saying today. And, as always, have a beautiful day. I love you heaps. Ciao.

I would love to hear from you, so please tag me @IAmNickBroadhurst on social media, and use the hashtag #TheNickBroadhurstShow, or leave me a comment below (I read every single one!). And if you could take a minute to leave me a review (5 stars would be epic, but whatever feels true for you) on iTunes I would be very grateful. Tell me what you want more of! I am at your service.


    • Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your radical honesty in confessing you are a hyper nerd, and take notes on everything you read !!! Amazing !

      I have always felt like such a weirdo taking notes when I read books .. because I handwrite them so it takes me an age to get through a single darn book !! Its actually a problem, because it puts me off reading books because I know it will take me ages. BUT in saying that, I’ve never ever organised them in the super smart way that you go about it. So this is brilliant, thank you so much for the inspiration.

      On the topic of note taking, I have to commend yourself & Melissa for your OCD level of information management — freaking insane and I love it…. everything from the insights you provide to the delivery of it in website layout, links, notes, etc.. the whole shebang. Very systematic, clean and logical. I would not be at all surprised if your commitment to David Allen’s GTD method and so many other organising tools you’ve recommended have been pivotal (aside from meditating, etc.) to your success. We live in an information fuelled world, and you two have filtered it in such a comprehensive and accessible way, thank you for such clarity!

      I’ve always got 101 ideas and thought bubbles about the world and all the rest but I’ve never managed to develop a system to streamline them into a useful ‘all in one’ system, I thought i was a scatter brain and always would be…. but i sense an OCD-ness arising in me following your advice (GTD David Allen, Things App, Evernote, etc.)

      You’re recommendations & advice are radically changing the way I operate my life, and I am truly, truly grateful, thank you.

      Just kicking goals you two are, seriously epic work. Very positive changes. Thank you.

      All the best.


      August 10, 2018
      • Thank you so much for this message Eb. So glad this has been supportive for you :)

        Nick Broadhurst
        August 20, 2018
Replying to: Cancel reply