Skip to Content


optionality via negativa
  • Writing is Thinking as the book Smart Notes discusses.

  • What exactly is the relationship between writing and thinking? Well, forcing thoughts to be written down clarifies them. First you’re digesting these thoughts and then elaborating them. This improves thinking.

  • Why are smart notes a better way to write? Well, there are some problems with the existing way things are written. Currently, we start with a topic and forces ourselves to write till completion. This demotivates us as we want to write freely. We can feel the pain arising from the loss of our options.

  • Thus one way to write is to always have multiple things to write about. If we are bored, we can switch to something else. (IIRC, Taleb mentioned he used a similar strategy when learning math). Smart notes allows us to do that by generating notes in a bottom-up fashion.

  • To write on a topic using this method, we aggregate notes on related topics. Then we remove stuff we don’t need (which I find easier compared to adding stuff).

  • One way to start writing using this method is to write first and beautify after.

note taking, Permanent Notes, Temporary Notes, Talk: You and your research, Literature Notes, Presenting, Presenting Checklist,