Sometimes in cooking one throws together a casserole dish from whatever is in the refrigerator. So, now, I have thrown together a review of a number of smaller e-books I’ve gathered on Evernote when the cost was from free to $2.99 or so. Some of them have been useful, some less so. As usual with most collections of written material, almost all of them have some feature(s) that makes them valuable and some that aren’t so helpful.
Of course, there are reasons why ebooks are not the best choice for any software, especially ones that have versions for so many browsers, operating systems, and mobile apps. Evernote in particular changes constantly, and not in an even pattern across versions. A great new feature may appear first in the iPhone app, then cross over into the others. So, since books are not updated often, it would seem a book is not a good choice for discussing software. On the other hand, Evernote has a metric ton of features, and thus a book can be needed to give a more complete picture.
I have tried, therefore, to mention books that are recent (within the last couple of years, for the most part). Given these considerations, here are the good, the bad, and the ugly. Warning: A lot of these are self-published, and the bibliographic information can be sketchy.
Evernote: Wow! I Didn’t Know It Could Do That. Author: G. Scaysbrook, July, 2014, sold by Amazon Digital Services, and listed by them as 175 pages, but seems much shorter (Kindle books don’t show page numbers as such, but rather the percentage of the book read).
It offers a good selection of tips, decent writing, and easy-to-read graphics (I use the Kindle app on my Nook HD, which includes color, so not sure how well the screenshots on any of these books look on a black and white or paperwhite device). Example tips that were well done including emailing notes to your Evernote account, including the syntax for doing so. Also well done were searching notes and the extensive syntax Evernote has for searching.
I will highlight new tips and features; since I consider myself advanced in literacy about Evernote, I am assuming that things I don’t know are things the average user won’t know either. So in this case, things I didn’t know included how to unmerge notes and how to create shortcuts to your computer’s folders and files.
Evernote for Windows: The Most Comprehensive Guidebook, by M. Yilmaz. July 2013, 122 pages.
Table of Contents clearly labels which topics are about actions to take, with the rest being discussions, and features are ranked as basic, intermediate, or advanced level. It is already out-of-date since it lacks any mention of reminders, for example.
Examples of good discussions include the benefits of synchronized and unsynchronized notebooks; search syntax; why notes are in only one notebook unless copied (similar to folder/file structure in your computer); advanced search syntax such as searching for attribute, file type, dates created, etc. This book, along with several others, mentions using special characters to place a note or tag at top of the list, such as !Urgent. Good discussion of customizing the layout to create look that works best for you, including the favorites toolbar.
Things I didn’t know: can create hierarchy of tags. To do so, drag one tag on top of another, and dragged tag becomes child node. Also that notes deleted are not deleted immediately, can go into trash and undelete them.
Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote (Plus 75 Ideas to Get You Started). by S. J. Scott, July 5, 2014. Archangel Ink. 127 pages.
The author does a lot of self-published productivity books, and the Evernote Scott YouTube videos.
Does explicitly discuss GTD in the book. Includes a good discussion of adding notebooks and tags for a GTD system in Evernote, including nested tags.
The 75 Ideas for getting started with Evernote section is variable in quality or application for a specific individual, but a great idea for person who might be having trouble visualizing how they might use Evernote – and even habitual users might find some good new ideas.
For example, #7 – everything you speak to Siri or Google Now can be archived in Evernote. There is a link to an IFTTT recipe for appending to a reminder note. Ideas #14 through 19 are for college students, such as saving various documents such as syllabi, creating notes for useful for specific classes, creating a digital school filing cabinet (perhaps a better idea to use it as a digital portfolio for college work).
Things I didn’t know: Did know that that in searching quote marks could be used for a phrase, did not know one can use an asterisk as truncation symbol; besides creating shortcuts to folders and files, you can, in Windows, set up a folder to import into Evernote (everything you add to that folder becomes an item in Evernote); with Skitch, besides doing some markups of files, one can save the files as PDFs.
Master Getting Things Done the David Allen Way with Evernote. By Dominic Wolff. Organized Living Press. August 2013 edition. 79 pages.
This book is designed to get you up and running with GTD using Evernote in 7 days. Nicely set out to introduce both, though not comprehensive on either, and not meant to be.
How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual. by Mark O’Neil. August 31, 2012, 61 pages.
This is one of the free MakeUseOf ebooks. The layout is good. Includes very basic information, but lots of visuals.
Things I hadn’t thought of or know – send favorite tweets to Evernote via IFTTT. Mentions Evernote Trunk.
Ranked among the bad because the information is so basic, and because it was “published” in 2012 and therefore quite out of date.
Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done. by D. E. Gold. 2011. 69 pages.
Some use in organizing Evernote for accomplishing GTD. Big idea is to have master note with links to other notes (every note in Evernote has its own URL) for such things as planning travel, meeting agendas, next actions, and client notes. Not as good as the Wolff book listed above.
65 Ways to Use Evernote to Supercharge Your Life. By T. McNally. 35 pages, Amazon Digital Services. Jan. 4, 2014.
Items 36-48 on education, most of which are applicable to college study. Items 49-54 are about research, also mostly applicable to college. Most of the rest about personal life (travel, finance, etc), with the last few about Evernote features useful to anyone. The fact that most of it is focused on personal life and so little on professional life is the only reason it is in the bad category, otherwise it is a nice little book.
Practical Guide to Evernote (Windows) by Prof. Jeffery Owens. Fountainhead Publications, June 2013. 40 pages.
Poor layout, poor visuals. Not a great deal new.
Does have interesting bit on sorting notes in chapter 7. Usually reverse chronological order, but can order them by almost any attribute. Includes an extensive and categorized list of keyboard shortcuts. Also how to use the Wine environment to install Evernote on Ubuntu (various consumer versions of Unix such as Linux and Ubuntu are the last operating systems on which Evernote does not work), and how to add a player to open audio files directly in Evernote.
Evernote Essentials Guide Boxed Set – includes Evernote: What You Should Learn or Know About Evernote by David Blaine, and Evenote: How to Master Evernote in 1 Hour and Getting Things Done Without Forgetting by Jason Scotts. Date for boxed set is June 2014, doesn’t mean the books are, and there are no dates on each book. Both mention reminders, so they must be fairly recent. Moreover, the title may be meant to confuse this book with Brett Kelly’s often mentioned Evernote Essentials, written by a man who worked for a time for Evernote and knows it inside out (no, I haven’t read it, so it is not reviewed here – the copy I had was corrupted).
Blaine – Bad organization, mostly useless details few if any screenshots, no bibliographic information (several of the books reviewed suffer from this). Suddenly starts talking about a mind mapping software near the end without a segue.
Scotts – p. 29 to 62. Very basic intro to both Evernote and GTD, not particularly valuable or well laid out.
I have also read two well-done, professionally published and book length books on Evernote, Evernote for Dummies (there is a 2014 edition which I don’t have) by David Sarna and My Evernote by Katherine Murray. I recommend both of them, but the twin problems with them are price and currency. The Murray book is excellently organized and laid out, and is a great book for beginners, while the Sarna book is also well done and includes more advanced features than Murray does.
Has this been a comprehensive review of all books published on Evernote? No. These are books that I have run across, acquired, and spent the time to look at. Hopefully, though, they will give you an idea of how popular books on Evernote are, and a helpful guide to some that might be affordable AND useful.
Again, the bibliographic information on these books is sketchy, so a professional quality citation is difficult. I have tried to form something that vaguely resembles APA style. ;-).
Blaine, D. and Scotts, J. Evernote Essentials Guide (Boxed Set). Tech Tron, June 13, 2014, 68 pages.
Gold, D. E. The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, 2nd Edition. Publisher: Daniel E. Gold, 2011, 73 pages.
Mcnally, T. Evernote (65 Ways to Use Evernote to Supercharge Your Life). Amazon Digital Services, January 4, 2014, 35 pages.
Murray, Katherine. My Evernote. Que Publishing, Febuary 27, 2012, 256 pages.
O’Neill, Mark. How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual. Make Use Of, August 31, 2012.
Owens, Jeffrey. Practical Guide to Evernote (Windows). Fountainhead Publications, June 8, 2013, 40 pages.
Sarna, D. E. Y. and Richie, V. Evernote for Dummies. For Dummies, March 16, 2012, 384 pages.
Scaysbrook, G. Evernote: Wow! I Didn’t Know It Could Do That. No publisher, sold by Amazon Digital Services. Page numbers unknown. Published July 16, 2014.
Scott, S. J. Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote. Archangel Ink, July 5, 2014.
Wolff, D. Master Getting Things Done the David Allen Way with Evernote. Organized Living Press, August, 2013.
Yilmaz, M. Evernote for Windows: The Most Comprehensive Guidebook. Publisher: Murat Yilmaz. July 17, 2013.