Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game

From forgotten to unforgettable - How ReadWise transformed my reading experience, ensuring I never forget what I read.

My self-management system is organized based on certain principles that dictate how I always know what to do, when to do it, and why I should do something.

To ensure that this system is well-organized, all the content I gather from different formats needs to be structured effectively. This way, I never miss any piece of information, and all the information contributes to building my knowledge.

This system comprises manually taken notes, highlights from online readings, complete articles, papers, books, saved YouTube videos, and images collected from various sources on the internet.

In summary, anything that has been important to me at some point needs to be organized within my digital system.

One of the main purposes of this blog is to share what has worked for me over time, particularly my second brain system and my approach to self-management in life. It is something I want to share with you.

I will soon explain how Notion, Evernote, Readwise, Reader, and Google Drive are synced to ensure that I can easily locate any past piece of information by simply searching for a name, a story, or any relevant details.

Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game - William Meller

However, I also need to organize these things using spaced repetition systems that allow me to revisit what I have read and why.

Do you ever find yourself struggling to remember what you read from books or from other materials like articles? 

I used to be in the same boat, constantly forgetting the highlights and key insights I came across. 

But then, it improved really a lot when I discovered Readwise.

With Readwise, a simple app that syncs with my books and articles (or even more if I want), I’ve unlocked a whole new level of retaining and revisiting knowledge. 

Every day, like clockwork, Readwise delivers a curated selection of my past highlights and annotations straight to my inbox. 

It’s like having a personal assistant reminding me of all the valuable nuggets of wisdom I’ve encountered.

Readwise has transformed me into one of those individuals who can effortlessly mention book highlights during any discussion.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Readwise’s impact goes beyond social interactions. It has become an invaluable tool for my personal growth. 

Why Revisit Things?

The ability to revisit and reflect on my previous highlights has deepened my understanding of the topics I’m passionate about. 

It’s like having a treasure trove of knowledge at my fingertips, waiting to be explored whenever I need it.

If you’re tired of forgetting what you read, and yearn to join the ranks of those who effortlessly reference book highlights, then you need to know more about Readwise.

As I delved deeper into my Readwise journey, I discovered that its power lies in its utilization of a technique called spaced repetition. 

Spaced repetition works by capitalizing on the forgetting curve—a concept introduced by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. 

Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game - William Meller

Our brains are incredible organs, capable of processing vast amounts of information. However, the process of transferring information from short-term memory to long-term memory can be challenging. 

Often, we experience the frustrating phenomenon of forgetting something we just learned.

The forgetting curve illustrates how our memory strength decreases over time if information is not actively reviewed or reinforced. But also shows how our memory can improve if we keep the information coming to the brain.

Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game - William Meller

In other words, if we don’t revisit what we’ve learned, we’re more likely to forget it.

Spaced repetition is a scientifically proven method that leverages our brain’s natural learning and memory processes to enhance knowledge retention and recall.

When we encounter new information, our brain forms connections between the new knowledge and existing neural pathways. However, these connections are initially fragile and easily forgotten. By revisiting the information at strategic intervals, spaced repetition reinforces those connections, strengthening them over time.

Moreover, spaced repetition optimizes our brain’s memory consolidation process. After learning something new, our brains undergo a phase called memory consolidation, where the information is solidified and transferred to long-term memory. 

Spaced repetition taps into this process by prompting us to review the material during optimal moments of memory reactivation. Each review strengthens the neural pathways associated with the information, making it easier to recall in the future.

By employing spaced repetition, Readwise takes advantage of the spacing effect, which states that spacing out our learning and review sessions over time leads to better long-term retention. 

This technique aligns with how our brains naturally encode and consolidate information.

Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game - William Meller

Studies have shown that spaced repetition improves long-term memory retention significantly. By spacing out our learning and review sessions, we engage in active recall, which strengthens our memory recall abilities. 

Readwise harnesses the power of spaced repetition by curating a daily selection of highlights and annotations from our past readings. 

By reminding us of these valuable snippets, Readwise prompts us to review and reinforce our memory of the information. 

Over time, this consistent practice leads to a remarkable improvement in our ability to remember and articulate what we’ve read.

What Is ReadWise?

Founded by Daniel Doyon, Michelle Pokrass, and Tristan Homsi in 2017, Readwise is a service that assists users in extracting highlights and notes from different applications.

Readwise is capable of integrating with different ebook platforms and read-it-later apps and helps users have one platform for all the accumulated notes and highlights. 

The app periodically connects to these connected services, pulls all the user’s saved snippets, and organizes them automatically. 

Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game - William Meller

Users can then edit the highlights, include notes, and turn them into flashcards whenever they want to memorize certain parts of the books and articles they’ve read

I have been also using the Reader, a read-it-later app in steroids, also from ReadWise, but this is a topic for an other post.

Centralize and Organize Your Highlights: One of the key features of Readwise is its ability to consolidate and organize your highlights from various reading materials. By syncing with popular e-reading platforms like Kindle, Instapaper, and Pocket, Readwise collects your highlights in one centralized location. This feature enables you to easily access and review key insights, transforming your scattered annotations into a valuable knowledge repository.

Spaced Repetition for Long-Term Retention: Readwise employs the power of spaced repetition to optimize your memory retention. It intelligently schedules the review of your highlights at scientifically determined intervals, ensuring that you revisit important concepts at the most effective times. This technique strengthens your recall ability, solidifies knowledge in your long-term memory, and enhances comprehension.

Flashcards and Active Recall: Readwise’s flashcard feature takes the concept of spaced repetition to the next level. By transforming your highlights into interactive flashcards, Readwise facilitates active recall, a powerful learning technique. You can customize the flashcards to include prompts or questions, actively engaging your brain in retrieving information. This process reinforces your understanding and facilitates deeper learning.

Integration with Note-Taking Apps: Readwise seamlessly integrates with popular note-taking applications like Evernote, Notion, and Roam Research. This integration allows you to effortlessly transfer your highlights, annotations, and flashcards to your preferred note-taking system, creating a comprehensive knowledge management ecosystem. By incorporating your reading insights into your note-taking workflow, you can leverage them in your personal and professional projects.

Discover New Insights with Daily Review Emails: Readwise sends you personalized daily review emails, providing a convenient way to revisit your highlights and flashcards. These emails present a curated selection of your past highlights, ensuring that you consistently engage with your reading materials and reinforce your learning. This feature keeps your knowledge fresh and encourages continuous growth.

Customizable Review Settings: Readwise offers flexible review settings, allowing you to customize your learning experience. You can choose the frequency and intensity of your review sessions based on your preferences and learning goals. Whether you prefer daily, weekly, or monthly review sessions, Readwise adapts to your unique reading habits, optimizing your learning process accordingly.

Insights and Analytics: Readwise provides valuable insights and analytics about your reading habits, highlight patterns, and progress. These analytics give you a deeper understanding of your reading preferences and help you identify areas of interest or expertise. By leveraging this information, you can make informed decisions about your reading choices and track your growth over time.

What Is My Routine with ReadWise?

ReadWise is an important part of my Second Brain setup. I will share more about this setup soon, so subscribe to stay tuned.

But ReadWise doesn’t exist in isolation; it seamlessly integrates with my reading apps and note-taking systems. This integration ensures that everything stored in my “digital brain” becomes part of the same interconnected space, allowing me to forge meaningful connections and learn from the collective knowledge at my fingertips.

I read a lot of content, from lengthy scientific articles to short blog posts. But there are also many books that I would love to revisit regularly. 

Today, all 79 books that I’ve shared here on the website are synchronized with my ReadWise for daily review.

 – Read the content (book, article, tweet, blog post, etc);

 – Highlights what I want to remember;

 – Everything is synced with ReadWise, so the automation ensure it is there;

 – Every single day, revisit 3 highlights from my readings;

I also like to add a note during my daily review, so I can reflect about the text and give a personal note to myself, in the future, when this highlight appears again.

Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game - William Meller

Perhaps it’s a good time to mention that you can check out the 3 highlights I review daily by following me on LinkedIn or Instagram, where I share daily doses of my readings.

It’s also based on the highlights I save in ReadWise that I’m able to create the Weekly Pulse for you every Friday.

If I go to my Notion page, everything is also there. So my second brain is organized in a way that I will never miss anything that I read, watch or any note that I took overtime. Everything is connected, automated and delivered again to me! 

Unleashing the Power of ReadWise: How It Changed My Reading Retention Game - William Meller

In summary, ReadWise is an app that has become a crucial part of my routine, and I’ve been able to maintain a streak of 147 days without missing a single daily review of my readings.


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