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Can You Create Your Own Cliffs Notes? Yes, Build Your Own Power Library

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Are you a life student and love books and podcasts? Do you wonder, “Can you create your own CliffsNotes?” Yes, you can build your own Power Library with your own Cliffs Notes!
Seriously, do you love to read and research? Do you love taking online classes and following your favorite teachers? We are all in the information age, but how do you keep all that information? How do you absorb it all into your busy and cluttered brain?

You don’t just want to read and listen. You want to learn and let it become just…what you know. Then, how do you access the part you are looking for when you need to reference something or find it again?

Yes, you can do a quick Google. But what if you are looking for that quote you loved that no one else probably noticed? What if what you are looking for isn’t a Google fact but a “YOU” opinion about a fact? What if you noted how this information spoke to you or applies to your life, and now…you can’t find it?

You can also do digital word searches, but what if you aren’t sure of the exact words used? You only remember what it was about or meant in that context. Now what do you do? 7 Clear and Easy Steps When You Feel Stuck In Life

Brown small dog with paws on book and books stacked around it.

Can You Create Your Own Cliffs Notes?

You can create your own organized Cliffs Notes on everything you learn and love from here forward. You can do it digitally or old-school with pen, paper, folders, and binders (our favorite). Either way is excellent to build your own Power Library with your personal notes, inspirations, and comments.

This doesn’t feel like work for those of us who love reading and learning. It’s another way to play with facts and information, and who doesn’t want to build your own Power Library? What’s a Power Library? Picture organized thoughts and information about each book you read and each Podcast you listen to. Imagine organized notes on each online class you took.

Imagine being able to go right to the good stuff on that topic you did a deep dive of research on last year. What if you could easily access that great passage in that book you read at the beach last Summer? Wouldn’t it be great to share what you found with others without digging through pages and hoping you see it?

The steps are easy and can be done while reading, learning, and enjoying information. You will not only be creating that Power Library, but it will also help you retain information in your brain. Information you gather will just become something…you know and understand.

The steps are straightforward, and it’s fun for us “Lifetime Students” who always enjoy learning. So here we go! 7 Clear and Easy Steps When You Feel Stuck In Life

Gray bookstore open sign.

What Are Cliffs Notes?

Even if you have never used them (doubtful), you have seen Cliffs Notes with their black and yellow covers at any bookstore. They are also online, and there are copycat versions like the modern Sparknotes.

The original company began in 1958 in Clifton Hillegrass’s basement. Clifton read almost a book a day till his death at 83. The company started as notes from all the many classic books he had read. So he is the “Cliff” of “Cliffs” Notes. (dropping the apostrophe after a few years)

Many a student has read the Cliffs Notes of a book assignment instead of reading the book. This was never good ole Cliff’s intention. His purpose for his many black and yellow books was much more profound. It was to accompany the reading of the book, ask insightful questions, and give you a deeper understanding of what you read. Clifton loved reading and knew not everyone had someone to discuss literature and bounce meanings and ideas off of.

Throughout the years, students have used Cliffs Notes to get out of having to read the assignment. It ultimately paid off, even if that wasn’t his original intent for his product. In 1999 book worm Cliff sold the company for more millions than you have fingers to count them.

Woman in the center of books stacked around her with a questioning look on her face.

Understand The Difference Between Reading A Book And Knowing A Book.

We are in the information age. Because of that, information is flying at us faster than we can digest it. There are 4 million books published each year, not counting self-published books. There are 28 million podcasts put out each year. This only counts new material and doesn’t touch the lifetime of material already out there. Then there are the gazillion million online classes, workshops, and tutorials flying around the internet.

So yes, you have lots of access to lots of information. Now how do you really take this information in and retain it in your consciousness? We’ve all read the same line of a book repeatedly by pure distraction. We’ve also done it intentionally because we couldn’t grasp what the string of words was trying to tell us. 7 Clear and Easy Steps When You Feel Stuck In Life

We’ve listened to books, podcasts, or online classes and realized our mind was wondering. This is when you know you are 10 minutes in and can’t tell you what the teacher or narrator is talking about. We often know we have read a book or heard an online offering but can’t tell you anything about it.

Woman with question marks on a chalkboard in the background.

So How Do I Do This Better?

This past action is accessing information, not learning and absorbing information. So how do you do this better? Well, everyone understands and takes information in differently. Like some people find it easier to only listen to fiction in their car or as they do housework or data entry. They can only multitask when just listening to a story.

But when you want to truly take the information in and make it part of your knowledge, it is often better to “take notes” as you go. You can do this while reading, listening, or watching online. Here are our suggestions in 4 easy steps. They take a little time, but we will teach you how to build your own Power Library as you go.

Dog wearing black glasses reading a book illustrating one way how you can create your own cliffs notes.

Can You Create Your Own Cliffs Notes? Yes, With Step #1: Take In The Information.


Read the book at your own speed and your own way, but underline or highlight anything that feels like:

  • Useful information
  • Facts that could be handy someday
  • Quotes you might want to incorporate someday
  • Words that speak to you or express how you feel
  • Passages that have meaning or are touching to you
Words on pages of a book with underlines and notes in the margins illustrating a technique for how can you create your own cliffs notes.

Use The Margins.

There are books that are keepsakes that feel like sacred spiritual ground. But most books are meant to be tools. Use the tools it brings to you. The margin is a great place to write what that paragraph meant to you or what it made you think of. It’s a good place to reference what you will use this information for if you are a speaker or teacher. They are also an excellent place to draw a star by something significant to your understanding.

Podcasts, Digital Books, Online Classes.

Most people don’t multitask well when they really want to take something in. This is why we suggest listening to entertaining things while doing other chores. But listen or watch with a pencil, paper, or a note screen open when you want to digest, learn and make the information your own.

A desk with a book open and person taking notes illustrating how can you create your own cliffs notes.

Can You Create Your Own Cliffs Notes? Yes, With Step #2: Get It All Down In Your Words.

In this step, you will get all the information you care about in your words. These will not just be your own Cliffs Notes but will now be “YOU NOTES.”


Take notes from your highlights, underlines, and messages in the margin. If you reference a quote, make sure you note who said it. If you are quoting the author, be sure to get it word for word as he said it. If it’s facts that you want to use later, be sure you have the facts correct

Everything else is your interpretation and feelings about what you read. Your notes in the margin can be as important as the words written in the book. This makes the book part of what you know now, not just something you read. You are taking this information and making it part of who you are and what you understand.

Podcasts, Digital Books, and Online Classes.

Audio is more ethereal as hearing happens in your head, and no one else can see it. But now you have your notes. So do the same as you would with a book. Only this time, take notes from your notes. They may work fine just as you wrote them. However, often dictating from hearing to writing can lose some organization.

Be sure your notes are accurate to what you heard and organized in a way that makes sense to you. That’s what matters. When you look at these notes in 5 years, will your words make sense?

Three binders that are stacked on top of each other illustrating how can you create your own cliffs notes.

Can You Create Your Own Cliffs Notes? Yes, With Step #3: Gather All Your “You Notes” (Like Cliffs Notes, Only Better) So You Can Always Reference Them.

Our favorite way to do this is to put it all in a folder or a binder. We write the book’s name, class, podcast, etc., on the cover. If it’s a binder, we also put it on the spine.

We also reference the date we created this folder/binder and include any other articles, blogs, or materials supporting it. We could also put some info about the author or teacher or speaker. This allows us to find more information on the topic from this source if we want it later.

If the title is not self-explanatory, you might make a subtitle that reminds you what is in these “YOU NOTES.” This will create easy references later when trying to find something quickly.

You can also do this digitally, storing it in your computer or places like Google Drive, Dropbox, or other cloud offerings.

Three binders sitting on a desk next to a cat illustrating can you create your own cliffs notes.

Can You Create Your Own Cliffs Notes? Yes, With Step #4: Build Your Own Power Library!

It’s time to store your folders and binders so you can easily access them. You might arrange them alphabetically. If you like chronologically better, go with that. Whatever will allow you to find your “YOU NOTES” in YOUR POWER LIBRARY.

If you have built your own power library digitally, store it so you can quickly get to it and easily find it in the indexed database. The ease of seeing things is the biggie here.

Woman sitting at a desk with a laptop smiling illustrating confidence when knowing she answered yes in response to the question how can you create your own cliffs notes.

Here Is What You Will Have When You Get Done:

Can you make your own Cliffs Notes? Heck yeah, only now they are “YOU NOTES” with your ideas, interpretations, and meanings attached to them.

Now you have your own Power Library, not just of information but of YOUR knowledge besides what was in the book, podcast or class.

You now take in more information with a deeper understanding and broader retention than just reading or listening alone.

You can more easily quote the author or teacher with your own view on what was shared instead of just repeating the creator of the material.

You can now take what you read or listened to, lift it off the page (or ear pod), and MAKE IT YOUR OWN!

So Go Ahead and Try It!

Where would you like to start with your own Cliffs Notes? What will be your first entry in your Power Library of You Notes?

Pixi-Pebbles For How You Can Create Your Own Cliffs Note

Pixi-Pebbles are songs, quotes, videos, interviews, movie references, and books that we each personally pick for you.

We’ve used these little Pixi-Pebbles to move ourselves from a feeling we’re not enjoying very much…to a feeling that helps us discover our vision of intention, awareness, and direction.

They lead us to hope, possibilities, and a fire under our butt to live life by design instead of default. In our blog Can You Create Your Own Cliffs Notes? Yes, Build Your Own Power Library, these are the Pixi-Pebbles that came to mind.

Just a little inspiration to get you from here to there.

We love the great people at Fearless Soul. Here is one of their motivational speeches that is a great resource for getting started with your Cliffs Note. Grab your favorite pen and notebook and take some notes. Have a great time getting started with creating your very own power library!

Click Here To Listen To You Matter…and Be Inspired By Your OWN Awesomeness!

Meet Nikki:

Nikki has a way of making almost anything meaningful, interesting, and fun. She loves cats, believes you can learn a lot about yourself by shooting hoops in the park, and has a mad love affair with trees. As a Certified Neuro-linguistic Programming Practitioner, Intentional Living Mentor, Reiki Master, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, she understands how to help others create change and has a talent for making you enjoy doing it.

Enchanted perspectives creator Nikki and Jennifer sitting against tree

Meet Jennifer:

Jennifer is a woman who definitely lives life by design. As an Artist, Certified Holistic Life Coach, Reiki Master Teacher, Spiritual Studies Mentor, and Certified EFT Practitioner, she helps others find their unique, magical, and authentic selves. She loves art, music, nature, travel and believes everyone can dance. Jennifer is a compassionate teacher that enjoys inspiring others to find their own creativity, intuition, and passion for life.
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