As COVID-19 shut down much of the world during my junior year of college, I was confronted with an intimidating amount of free time. This motivated me to pick up a reading hobby which would eventually inspire the creation of JeffReads. However, after reading a handful of books, I quickly realized how easily I forgot everything I had just read. A note-taking log in Google Sheets became my outlet to keep track all the new things I was learning. Ever-expanding in detail, that document became a diverse and fascinating catalogue for my exploration across the worlds of business, technology, history, politics, psychology and more. With encouragement from family and friends, I wanted to share my readings with the world in hopes that it will spark a similar exploration for at least one (but hopefully more than one!) JeffReads visitor.
What You’ll Find
The straightforward elements of each summary post are the (subjective) rating out of 5 stars, followed by the date I read the book, and below that, a brief summary which was created with the help of ChatGPT. Just prior to the brief summary is an “Inspiration” tagline which I wanted to use to explain why I picked up a certain book. The motivation rarely came from any deep, philosophical revelation or question, but more likely came from simply seeing/reading something on social media, friend/coworker recommendations, or a random thought that popped into my head and wanting to learn more.
Following that brief summary are my “Unedited Notes”. These notes are directly from my Google Sheets log, intended to show you the short-handed and abbreviated way I take notes in real-time as I read. I try to focus on main ideas that I’ll want to remember, usually pausing at the end of chapters to jot notes down. You may find some summaries with disclaimers that the “Unedited Notes” were written before I realized I needed good notes—this is because I wanted to be honest about my learning curve as I became a more avid reader. Some abbreviations may make the notes mildly-to-moderately incomprehensible in places—that’s one of the idiosyncrasies I wanted to keep. Everyone likes taking notes in a different way—this is just my way—but hopefully it gives you an idea of how you could do it.
Why I Read
As I think is quite common, I started out with a distaste for reading after endless school reading assignments. Not to mention that reading (especially non-fiction) can be an intimidating commitment. But I have found as I continue to pick up books based on questions that pique my interest on daily basis, it has become incredibly fun. Essentially, if there are questions I find myself wanting to Google, I try to take it one step further and see if there’s a book on the topic. I have learned that for virtually any question I have, someone (or multiple people) have spent significant portions of their life, if not their entire life, dedicated to studying, understanding, unraveling, and writing about that exact question (which I think is pretty cool). And those books are a click away from being in my mailbox (or on my screen/in my ears).
About Jeff Hirsh
I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Northwestern University in 2021 with a degree in Economics. I moved to New York City after graduation and currently reside there as I work in Private Equity (and continue my reading hobby). I welcome any and all feedback, questions, or other thoughts related to JeffReads and would love to hear from you via email at Jeff@JeffReads.com or LinkedIn. Book recs are always welcome, or you can just say hi!
I hope you’ll be able to use JeffReads to find a book (or two) that spark your curiosities and you can start your own literary exploration. Thank you for visiting!