Unleashing the Power of Note-Taking: How to Turn Your Knowledge into Assets



Sep 03, 20235 min read


Unleashing the Power of Note-Taking: How to Turn Your Knowledge into Assets


In today's fast-paced world, where information is abundant and easily accessible, the ability to retain and organize knowledge is more crucial than ever. From Steve Portigal's strategic thinking to the brutal truth about reading, we explore various insights on note-taking and how to transform our personal research into valuable assets. By incorporating these insights and leveraging platforms like Notion, we can unlock the full potential of our knowledge and make it accessible to others.

Insight #1: You're already a mental millionaire

When we teach others what we have learned, we not only solidify our own understanding but also create future teachers. By sharing our knowledge, we become a valuable resource for others, and our expertise gains recognition. This insight emphasizes the importance of leveraging our existing knowledge and turning it into actionable content that can benefit others.

Insight #2: Sell your sawdust

Just like Tim Ferriss turned his personal curation into a popular newsletter, we can transform our notes into assets by being the first or best person to present information in a unique way. By curating and packaging our knowledge, we can create valuable resources that others are willing to pay for. This insight encourages us to explore different ways to monetize our notes and share our expertise with a broader audience.

Insight #3: Learn knowledge with lasting value

To ensure our notes stand the test of time, we need to focus on acquiring knowledge with lasting value. While some information may be valuable in the short term, it becomes outdated or irrelevant over time. Titanium Knowledge, on the other hand, remains valuable for decades. By prioritizing the acquisition of durable knowledge, we can build a note-taking system that provides passive benefits for years to come.

Insight #4: Create research templates

To streamline our note-taking process, we can create templates for different types of content. These templates serve as a starting point, allowing us to structure our notes consistently and save time. By utilizing predefined structures, such as tables and headers, we can ensure our notes are organized and easily accessible.

Insight #5: Use Notion to take notes

Notion, a versatile workspace platform, offers a range of features that enhance the note-taking experience. Its backlink functionality allows us to see all the interconnected pages, enabling us to make more connections between different pieces of information. Additionally, the use of blocks within pages allows for modularity and direct linking, enabling us to atomize knowledge and create a more comprehensive note-taking system. Notion also integrates with platforms like Memberspace or Outseta, enabling us to monetize our notes by putting some content behind a paywall.

Insight #6: Break your notes into atomic units

By breaking our notes into smaller, modular units, we can create a more flexible and manageable system. This modularity enables us to directly link keywords, resources, and people, facilitating easier navigation and making connections between different pieces of information. Breaking down complex research into smaller, complete pages ensures that even incomplete sections can still be valuable, as they can be hidden until they are ready.

Insight #7: Learn information architecture and usability

To enhance the user experience of our notes, it is essential to understand the principles of information architecture and usability. By sharing bite-sized, problem-solving content, we make it easier for readers to connect the dots between each piece of information. This approach not only benefits the reader but also helps us refine our own understanding of the subject matter.

Insight #8: Make your notes default-public

When we make our notes publicly accessible, we are motivated to put in extra effort to ensure they are in-depth and well-organized. The awareness that our notes can be viewed by others serves as a forcing function for deeper processing of information, leading to faster learning. Making notes default-public also provides valuable context for our future selves who may have forgotten the current context.

Insight #9: Package your notes so others experience their value

To make our knowledge truly valuable to others, it is crucial to package and refine it. By taking the time to organize and structure our notes, we increase their value tenfold. Packaging our research on mental models, for example, can lead to the creation of a successful subscription-based side-business. This insight emphasizes the importance of investing time in packaging our knowledge for maximum impact.

Insight #10: Make each piece of content free and paid

By adopting a hybrid approach, we can offer some of our content for free while putting the rest behind a paywall. This strategy allows us to attract a broader audience while monetizing our expertise. By leveraging platforms like Notion, we can seamlessly deliver and manage content, ensuring a fair balance between free and paid offerings.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Start by sharing as you learn on social media: Sharing bite-sized pieces of information regularly not only helps refine your approach to public sharing but also builds a body of content that can later be moved into your note-taking system.
  • 2. Break your notes into atomic units: Embrace modularity and create a system where every keyword, resource, and person can stand alone. This allows for easier navigation and direct linking between different pieces of information.
  • 3. Invest in information architecture and usability: Learn the principles of organizing and presenting your notes in a user-friendly manner. By making it easier for readers to connect the dots between content, you enhance their learning experience and solidify your own understanding.


In today's knowledge economy, the ability to retain, organize, and share information is a valuable skill. By implementing the insights shared by Steve Portigal and understanding the importance of effective note-taking, we can transform our personal research into valuable assets. Leveraging platforms like Notion and following the actionable advice provided, we can unlock the full potential of our knowledge, make it accessible to others, and create meaningful impact in the world.


  1. "Portigal | Think and act strategically", https://portigal.com/ (Glasp)
  2. "The Brutal Truth About Reading: If You Don’t Take Notes Right, You’ll Forget Nearly Everything", https://medium.com/accelerated-intelligence/the-brutal-truth-about-reading-if-you-dont-take-notes-right-you-ll-forget-nearly-everything-8058fd9143df (Glasp)

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