Marking when Reading is rarely useful

I used to mark & highlight a lot while reading with both physical and digital books. I once thought this was a very efficient way to help me to remember, understand, and then I can quickly pick them up whenever I want, digital marking is even more convenient by bringing in highlight management and search ability.

All of my ideas were wrong!

  • Highlighting and marking don’t magically make me remember anything.1
  • Marking is simply an alternative of quoting. It’s quick, but help me skip the procedure of understanding which is slow.
  • I’ve never been able to pick anything up. Since marking doesn’t organise and link information and transfer it into knowledge, all marks are forgotten swiftly. No way I can remember anything until I experience it several times, this is not I want.
  • Searching for marks is just a fancy way of quoting if no understanding follows.

After the study of zettelkasten[[201910022111]], I treat marks and highlights as anchors, where I can quickly trace things back by them after I read my zettel. Nothing more. All marks are not directly quoted but are summarised or paraphrased with my own understanding.


  1. [[Making Proper Marks in Books • Zettelkasten Method]] ↩︎