Writing Is Thinking


I started reading How To Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens recently (by recently I mean read it for a bit months ago and never picked it up since), and the overarching concept of Writing Is Thinking stood out to me. There have been many instances where I’ve followed this concept without even realizing:

This excerpt from the book summarizes this idea perfectly:

Richard Feynman once had a visitor in his office, a historian who wanted to interview him. When he spotted Feynman’s notebooks, he said how delighted he was to see such “wonderful records of Feynman’s thinking.”

“No, no!” Feynman protested. “They aren’t a record of my thinking process. They are my thinking process. I actually did the work on the paper.”

“Well,” the historian said, “the work was done in your head, but the record of it is still here.”

“No, it’s not a record, not really. It’s working. You have to work on paper, and this is the paper.”


  1. When I say writing, I mean both writing and typing. I type faster than I write, so I prefer typing sometimes.