A Note-Taking System for Books I Read

I recently blogged about taking notes from the books I read. I’ve been experimenting on a note-taking system lately. Back when I was still reading lots and lots of print books, my habit was to use a 3X5 index card as a bookmark and take notes from there. Sometimes I would also write on the margins of the book, underline the statements that strike me and put big exclamation marks on the pages that get to me.

But these days, I’m reading ebooks most of the time. I have a Kindle Fire 8.9 and I have the Kindle app installed on my laptop, my desktop, and in my Android phone.

I’m trying a new way of taking notes–I want to gather the highlights, comments, insights, and questions that occur to me while reading a particular work… and put them here in the blog. For PinoyYuppie.com, I will post notes on books related to business, career, and anything about a young professional’s life. If you want to check out my notes on any other book I read, you may need to check out my personal blog, MightyRasing.com.

For each book notes blog post here, you should expect the following types of notes:

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Why You Should Take Notes from Every Book You Read

Learning is never over, especially after College. You need to train for your job. If you want to advance in your career, you also need new skills and new set of knowledge to pound into your brain.

They say that experience is the best teacher. Most of the time, they assume that it should be your OWN experience. But that’s not true. A lifetime isn’t enough to experience every lesson there is to learn.

To make the most of one lifetime, you better talk to people, ask about their experiences and the lessons they learned. While face-to-face conversion is great, there is another way, which can sometimes be more efficient and just as effective: Reading books.

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Just an aside, here’s my previous post on how I choose books; and another one on WHY I read books in the first place.

A lot of us read books for different reasons–to be entertained, to learn new things, to kill boredom. But throughout history, lives changed, wars erupted, and the world was never the same, thanks to books and the ideas behind them.

If you are into reading books, you should take your book-reading experience to the next level. TAKE NOTES! Here’s why.

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How I Choose Books to Read

I’m a big reader, having read 40 books in 2014 as I revealed in a previous post. But how do I choose books to read, you may wonder.

I don’t really have a secret, but I do have several sources of great books to include in my reading list. Here’s how I choose the books that goes into my reading list.

 

Books exploring skills I want to acquire and topics (or genre for fiction) I’m interested in.

If I want to develop specific skills such as Mind mapping, Outlining, some people skills, my default mode of learning is to grab a book, read, read, read, and then look for actionable items.

Currently, my taste in fiction is in the area of post-apocalyptic works and Young Adult fiction. That’s why I enjoyed the Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins; Steelheart and Firefight, both from the Reckoners Series of Brandon Sanderson, and of course, I also read the first Percy Jackson series last year.

Since reading the Lord of the Rings Trilogy back in College, (thanks in no small part to my friend Butch!), I am pretty sure that I’ll be reading Fantasy and Science Fiction for the rest of my life.

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I Read a Lot… Even When I’m in the Toilet…

Back in 2014, believe or not, I read a total of 40 books! Check out my Goodreads account here. Check out the following screenshot:

Mighty-GoodReads-40books

Oh yes. 40 books in a year! That’s 3.33 books per month. This year, I’m signing up for a bigger challenge: read 52 books for the whole year. That’s one book per week on average.

But here’s the rub. I read a lot. And I read every chance I got–while riding in the MRT, while waiting in line just about anywhere… yes, anywhere, like even in the toilet.

If you’re not a reader, you might ask me “WHY?”

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Personal Budget for New Graduates

Here’s an article I published at my now-defunct blog PinoyYuppie. It might have changed in the past year or so, but it could still be a good guide for you to plan for your personal finance as you start working.

How Much Does it Cost for a Single Yuppie to Live in Metro Manila?

Being a yuppie comes with a very important privilege. You can finally wean yourself off your parents. You can go solo.

Of course, some yuppies don’t have that choice because they help in the family finances and that’s another story we’ll have to deal with in a separate post.

You can also enjoy the benefits of staying with your parents: like free board & lodging. But staying with them has pros and cons. Read this post to see if you’d rather go independent or stay with your parents: http://amightylife.me/stay-with-your-parents-or-go-independent/.

But if you’re dead serious about going independent, you should count the cost. Before you even tell your parents you’re moving out of the house, ask your wallet if it can sustain you.

So here’s a breakdown of how much it costs for a single yuppie to live in Metro Manila. Continue reading

Learn to Invest

If there is one thing I regret doing when I started working, it is that I did not save money right after I started earning money through my job. If you are about to start your first job, take note of these simple lessons in managing your money.

  1. Start saving as early as you can. How much should you save? At least 10% of your income. It doesn’t matter if you are receiving P8,000 or P100,000. Ten percent is the baseline to build that habit. I know that 10% of 8,000 is P800 and you may feel the pinch. But if you can survive when your pay is low, you will reap the benefits of your habit when your pay increases.
  2. Build your Emergency Fund right away. There will always be an emergency — you or your family members may need medical attention, or your TV, cellphone, or washing machine breaks down. It would be nice to have your expenses covered for at least 3 months just in case something happens.
  3. Discipline your desires and your wants. Spend on your needs reasonably. It’s okay to spend your money. After all, you worked hard for that. But don’t be the One-day millionaire, who spends everything he has today, and does not worry about tomorrow. Evaluate the things you want to buy. Are they really needs? Or are they simply wants and desires because you want to keep up? Avoid keeping up with the Joneses. Don’t buy a gadget or clothes, or anything just because they are cool, trendy, or everyone in your office has it.
  4. Have a financial goal. It doesn’t to be for yourself only. A lot of young professionals desire to help their family get out of poverty. That is a really great goal. So, write down your goal and remind yourself often.

The following books, blogs, and websites are great starting points to learn how to invest.

Books

Kasusweldo Pa Lang, Ubos Na? by Vic & Avelyn Garcia

No-Nonsense Personal Finance by Randell Tiongson

My Maid Invests in the Stock Market and Why You Should, Too by Bo Sanchez

Till Debt Do Us Part by Chinkee Ta

Pwede Na! The Complete Pinoy Guide to Personal Finance by Efren Cruz

Blogs & Websites

FitzVillafuerte.com

ChinkeeTan.com

RandellTiongson.com

KuripotPinay.com

MoneySense.com.ph

MarvinGermo.com

Resume and Cover Letter Sample

Your resume is an important document that you will send to companies so you can convince them that you are the best person for a job. Here is a sample resume that you can download. It has a basic, minimalistic layout, but you can customize it for your purpose.

If you want to download this file, please head over to this link: http://www.slideshare.net/penstalker1/sample-resume-56088149. Alternatively, you can also create your resume through the following online resume builders:

Cover Letter or Application Letter

For sample cover letter or application letter, please check out the following links. Don’t ever forget to customize your letter and make sure that you highlight your strengths and qualifications in relation to the job you are applying for:

One final tip, do not send a generic resume and application letter to many different companies. Instead, make sure to tailor-fit them to the company you are applying for.

Why Young People Leave the UMC: A Reaction from Ms. M

Hi everyone, thanks so much for your interest in my previous blogpost: Why Filipino Young People Leave Traditional Christian Denominations.

I may have hit on a palpable pain point in the church. But not surprisingly, hindi lang United Methodist Church ang may ganitong problema. I heard from several friends and other online connections na nasa ibang churches about their own problem of young people leaving traditional churches in favor of the CF’s.

I just feel compelled to provide a disclaimer: I love the United Methodist Church and this is an attempt to understand why young people are leaving the church. We need to have honest conversations about faith and spirituality. In the end, this is a question of ministry and loving people.

With that said, I am posting several reactions to the post last week. This one is from a former UMYF leader who is still within the UMC, but who actively attends one of the CF’s in Metro Manila. I changed some of the details of the story below, but I believe it reflects a lot of the realities that young Methodists face.

Please comment in a civilized manner. I will not tolerate rude, condescending, or any comment that will not help in understanding this matter. You can express surprise, hurt, or any emotion you may feel in reaction to this post, but do so in love and respect. – Mighty

* * * * *

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image credit: TheGospelCoalition.org

Right now, I still help out in the UMYFP in our district somewhere in the Manila Episcopal Area. I still serve our local church. But here in Manila, I am active in _CF Makati & Sundays at _CF Ubelt.

Why?

1. Growth

When I went to college in the España U-Belt area, I was active in the Upperbox Ministry of Central UMC and with the Vesper Choir. This was my inactive years in UMYF back home due to distance & my study schedule.

Honestly, all I desired was to serve God & people. I didn’t have personal devotion time and even a discipleship group which really focuses on my spiritual walk like the set-up of the 12 apostles, Paul & Timothy.

I was seriously drained, and there came a major blow in my life that I hit rock bottom, I was physically alone battling that struggle. So I asked for help from one of my UMYF friends who iwas already active in _CF. From that time on, i was refueled & revived.

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Social Servant Option

From among the options listed in the book “Start Up”, this is probably the most difficult. The pay is not that good, and often, you need to look for your own sources of funds to sustain your life and your projects.

But nonetheless, the path of the Social Servant may be tough, but it is definitely very fulfilling.

Here are three young people who have decided to take on the path of being a Social Servant. Watch the videos and see if their path resonates with you, and if you want to follow in their footsteps.

Jayjay Lizarondo

Jayjay Lizarondo is the founder of Helping Overcome Poverty through Education (HOP-E). He helps provide educational opportunities to marginalized kids. He has also established “bamboo schools” in Tanay, Rizal, which provides elementary education to indigenous children who would not otherwise have access to education.

Jay Jaboneta

Jay Jaboneta is the founder of Yellow Boats of Hope, which provides boats to families in Zamboanga. These boats help kids travel to their schools. Without these boats, the kids will need to swim and walk for 2 hours just to go to school. He has been featured in Facebook Stories, a project of the Social Networking company to highlight connections online that led to personal and social change.

Sabrina Ongkiko

Sabrina graduated from the prestigious Ateneo de Manila University, but instead of working for big companies and organizations, she decided to work as a teacher in a public school. This goes against all expectations for people of her caliber.

 

Entrepreneur Option

In the past decade, there has been an explosion of books about entrepreneurship and setting up your own business. A lot of training for would-be entrepreneurs and business owners have sprung up. In addition to this, franchising of food carts and other small scale businesses have gained popularity.

If you want to start your own business, check out these resources to help you get started:

Entrepreneur Magazine. 

Entrepreneur Magazine contains tons of ideas to help you think of a business idea. Not only that, the magazine also provides case studies of successful Filipino entrepreneurs–how they got started, the problems they faced and how they solved them, and other tips to help you succeed. Every now and then, the magazine also lists several resources and suppliers that you can contact, depending on the kind of business you are starting.

If you want to save some money, you can get older issues of the magazine at Booksale or Filbar’s. But the information contained there are still solid and helpful.

Please check out the following websites, too;

Putting up your own business is a challenging project. Here are a couple of other tips to help you build your own business.

  • Save up for capital before you start your own business. You can either get a job, or do freelance work, and bring your expenses down.
  • Come up with a Minimum Viable Product. In simplest terms, this is the bare essentials version of your product and service. Market it to your target audience and try to come up with the optimal pricing and set of features to get your business going. To understand this concept fully, I suggest reading ‘Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries & ‘The 7 Day Startup’ by Dan Norris
  • Get investors. They could be your friends, or family who believe in you and in your business project.
  • Take the Plunge. Don’t overthink and over-plan things. Sometimes, the best way to learn is to simply dive in, learn more about the industry you want to enter, and make adjustments as you go encounter problems and challenges.