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Notes on media, productivity and money

Notes on reading and note-taking with Bear

Wong Joon Ian

I just read this Superorganizers interview with Robert Cottrell who writes a newsletter called The Browser. The headline, of course, caught my eye: this guy reads 1,000 articles a day!

At the end of the interview, Cottrell talks about using an app called Bear, which is billed a beautiful note-taking app. This, naturally, grabs my attention. A beautiful note-taking app? Who wouldn’t want that?

I then get sucked into a rabbithole of comparing Bear and Notion and Roam. Finally, I decide to pull the trigger on a Bear Pro subscription. After all, it’s tax deductible business software, right?

As I was reading the article I had already saved it as a task in Things to mark the Cottrell article up and distill his reading technique for future reference.

Now I had a new tool to try this distillation process with. So I fired up Bear and took some quick notes. And now I’m going to try publish those notes here because I haven’t posted anything in a while! (Holiday is over…)

So here are my takeaways from the Superorganizers interview with Robert Cottrell.

How he reads

  1. Start with the headline
  2. Check the lede
  3. Cut your losses if the lede doesn’t work (which is similar to Freeman-Shor’s advice in ‘The Art of Execution’)
  4. Main heuristic is surprise

Writer portability

  1. Readers will follow writers, not publications. eg. you’ll want to read Susan Orlean in the New Yorker or the Financial times.
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