Get Your Kindle Highlights Back, Automatically.
Do you obsessively highlight ideas and quotes in books that really inspire you, and that you definitely want to remind yourself of, often? Do you ever go back to re-discover them? Yeah, usually not. We’re all too busy – reading new books and gathering new inspiration.
Well, it’s actually shockingly easy to get those highlights back front of mind – on a regular basis. For years, I looked for a quick way to do this. I wasted lots of time, and came across a number of multi-step workarounds that were way too tedious to actually do. Then I discovered a quick, automatic way to get all my highlights back where I could revisit them – the Readwise app.
I read (almost) exclusively on my Kindle(s) these days, so I can carry a hundred books everywhere I go. Highlighting is simple on my Kindle – just tap on the first word, drag to select the passage, release, and click on “highlight” in the popup. My Kindle automatically syncs my highlights with my Amazon Kindle account in the cloud. Now that I’ve connected the Readwise app to my kindle account, Readwise automatically sends me an email, every day, with a selection of my own highlights, for me to enjoy all over again. (Note: this kindle account is not my Amazon account – Readwise only has access to my kindle books’ content),
So, my favorite passages and quotes come back to me, over and over, automatically. Readwise uses “spaced repetition” to determine how often to choose each highlight for inclusion in the daily email. I can alter the frequency by just clicking on the “Favorite” button under any highlight in the email, and I’ll see my favorites more frequently.
There are lots of other cool features as well, which I’ll cover in a future post. But one that’s particularly important is that you can set each individual book in your Kindle account to either be included in your daily emails or not. (For me, there’s no reason to review passages from fiction books; likewise, sometimes I want to limit the non-fiction books to just those that are appropriate to what I’m working on at the time.)
So, how do you get Readwise setup? Simple. Visit Readwise.io/steve, to get 2 free months’ access (no credit card required). You can sign up via email or via your Amazon account. Either way, you’ll be prompted to install the Readwise browser extension – which actually does the work of importing your highlights from your Kindle account, and generates the emails for you.
You can complete the entire setup in literally seconds. (I tested it. Start to finish (except the actual import that Readwise does), it took less than 60 seconds, including installing the browser extension.)
- Visit Readwise.com/steve (to get 2 free months of access).
- Click on the “Get Started For Free” button.
- You can take either path – signing up via Amazon or signing up via email. We’ll go with signing up via email.
- Enter your name, email address, and a password.
- (Step 2 – Sync Your Highlights) – Choose Amazon Kindle. If the email you used is associated with your Kindle account, syncing starts immediately, and you’re all set. If you used a different email address, you’ll be prompted to enter the Kindle account email address, and then you’re done.
- Readwise will automatically import all of your highlights, display the list of books in a progress bar.
- You’re done! Readwise has sent you your first highlights email.
- Check your inbox now. If you don’t see the Readwise email, check your Trash and Spam folders (mine ended up in the Trash, for some reason).
- Be sure to send a reply! This lets your email application (e.g. Gmail) know that you want these emails in your Primary inbox (otherwise, your highlight emails may go to your Gmail Promotions tab, or even your Spam/Trash folder.
Now, to make sure you don’t forget those amazing passages and quotes while you read, just do this:
And get this:
I’ll share lots of cool tips on how to use Readwise even more effectively, in future posts.