Commonplace Book

Root: The title of this website came from my discovery of the commonplace book. Read more about me here.

Based on the results of a hasty Google search, I find a variety of definitions for the commonplace book, though all can agree that it acts as a depository of tidbits of information gleaned from any number of sources (mine include books, podcasts, blogs, news articles, etc.). A personal wiki that has been kept by the likes of Marcus Aurelius, Virginia Woolf, Petrarch, Thomas Jefferson and Bill Gates among others.

Harvard has a very cool set of resources on the topic including a scan of John Locke’s A new method of making common-place-books in which he states that the reasons for maintaining our knowledge in order are to:

  1. Understand why we collect information
  2. Commit to remembering content we choose.

I quite like this article “The Commonplace Book as a Thinker’s Journal“. The author, Kevin Eagan, says “Cognitive scientists say creative thinking can come from connecting disparate ideas that wouldn’t otherwise cross paths.”

Ryan Holiday in Thought Catalog provides a more detailed guide on “How And Why To Keep A Commonplace Book“. Some advice: read widely, take notes on wisdom and not facts, don’t let it all pile up.

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