Readwise is a web app that hints at more value than I first saw when I signed up for the free trial a month ago. Tomorrow I need to decide whether to pay for it, hence these thoughts.
I originally signed up because Readwise is able to ingest highlights I’ve made using my Amazon Kindle. Turns out there are nearly 2000 of them. That by itself is intriguing but not all that interesting. My hope was I could use Readwise to somehow mine those highlights for value. It also lets one collect highlights from other places, even those you make on web pages you are reading. That could be extremely valuable—I spend a lot of time reading web pages for more than entertainment, and could easily see myself highlighting those as habitually as I do my Kindle readings. But, no surprise, I haven’t made the time to explore Readwise’s capabilities beyond uploading my Kindle highlights.
But! One of the things Readwise does automatically (unless you tell it not to, or to do it differently) is send you a daily email containing five of your highlights. And so for 30 days I’ve been gently reminded of some of the best bits in what I’ve read … and I find it really helpful. Occasionally there will be a surprise, some gem I once noticed but forgot about. More often it’s a concentrated dose of a larger chunk of wisdom I once read and approved and ingested, and when it’s brought to mind again I spend some profitable time reflecting on the wisdom, and whether I still agree (usually I do), and what if anything I’ve done with it since our first encounter.
Here’s a sample collection, which I received two days ago:
|The Road to Character by David Brooks |
The tender character-building strategy is based on the idea that we can’t always resist our desires, but we can change and reorder our desires by focusing on our higher loves. (Location 1203)
To Change the World by James Davison Hunter
By late antiquity, as Brown has shown, the Christian church absorbed the Roman paideia into Christian catechesis. In this way, paideia became a preparatory school of Christian character. (Location 1127)
Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
…intelligence and education are only raw materials for good judgment. The same is true of knowledge, attentiveness, and discernment. Using them, a person must also estimate, appraise, and infer. She must conclude, choose, and act — all in a way that is firmly based in reality and relatively undistorted by personal whim and bias. (Location 1838)
Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard
Being dead to self is the condition where the mere fact that I do not get what I want does not surprise or offend me and has no control over me. (Location 1283)
Post-Christendom by Stuart Murray Williams and Nigel Wright
Christendom was a totalitarian culture: anyone challenging its beliefs or causing dissension was perceived as undermining society and dealt with severely. (Location 1079)
All good thoughts, and on certain days I could see myself being in the mood to go back to one or another of those books and read through that section again.
So I’m thinking about extending it another month at least—I’m pretty good at cancelling subscriptions, so it’s a small risk if I turn out not to want it, and having a bit of money on the line will likely motivate me to explore the rest of Readwise and actively decide whether it would be a useful tool for me.