#1029 The Pen Is Mightier

Than the Keyboard (Science Says re: Taking Notes)

In our last +1, we talked about Phil Stutz’s insight that leadership entails a willingness to embrace what he calls “hatred and misunderstanding.” We connected that to Steve Chandler’s wisdom on “Pleasing vs. Serving.”

Recall Steve’s distinction from Crazy Good: “When I was a desperate, suicidal alcoholic and I came to your home and you made me a strong drink, you were pleasing me. If, instead, you took me to a Twelve-Step meeting you were serving me. There’s a big difference between pleasing and serving.


Today I want to step back from the heavy stuff and talk about something more mundane.

Taking notes by hand vs. typing those same notes.

Did you know scientists have actually studied this to see which one is more effective?


Can you guess which one is more effective?

Handwritten notes or typed notes?

Hmmm… Whaddya think?


Short story: Handwritten notes for the win!


Well… Check out this NPR article for more on one of the original studies, aptly called: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.

Short story: As we discuss in Learning 101, it’s all about what researchers call “disfluency.”

Here’s how the Make It Stick guys put it in their great book: “Learning is deeper and more durable when it’s effortful. Learning that’s easy is like writing in sand, here today and gone tomorrow.

We are poor judges of when we are learning well and when we’re not. When the going is harder and slower and it doesn’t feel productive, we are drawn to strategies that feel more fruitful, unaware that the gains from these strategies are often temporary.


Taking any notes?

Here’s to picking up that old-fashioned mighty pen a little more Today!

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