75 thoughts on “#331 When someone already highlighted your textbook

  1. This is totally awesome… unless they went highlighter crazy! It’s the worst when you get a book and someone has highlighted every word. I try to be very reserved with my highlighting and marking, sticking to just phrases and words that are extra important.

    But if you get lucky and that person highlighted great things.. then AWESOME!

    1. I can’t go along with this one. At all. I always end up with the book from The Mad Highlighter. The purpose of highlights is to focus precious study time on critically important data. My previous book owners should have been art majors. They were only interested in painting pages and pages of text in yellow paint.

  2. Even better if they not only highlighted, but also answered the questions in each chapter. That happened to me last semester.
    Of course, the answers were mostly wrong…but good in theory. ;)

        1. – sk me no more questions,
          and tell me no more lies.
          The boys are in the bathroom,
          zipping up their fl –

            1. -rk dark dark dark
              Dark is like a movie
              A movie’s like a show
              A show is like a T.V. set
              And that is all I…

                1. -arney was a dinosaur,
                  from our imagination.
                  And when he’s tall he’s what we call,
                  a dinosaur sens-

  3. This helped me so much in the English course I just finished. Underlined quotes, important pieces, notes written all over. It was always slightly disappointing to turn to a new story and find it clean, but I was sure to underline and leave notes for the next poor kid who has to read it. Thank you past readers, and The future kids, you’re welcome!

  4. This. I have a habit of highlighting EVERYTHING so I always buy used, highlighted copies in the school’s bookstore to resist temptation.

  5. I hate this so much. I often read scientific work for fun, and highlights always serve only to distract me.

    1. Me too. Because some highlighted phrases are totally useless for me.
      But I like it when there are short notes or already answered questions. That’s the awesome stuff. =)

    2. Oh I hate this too. I don’t want anyone else’s highlighting- what if it’s different to mine? What if they’ve highlighted the wrong bit?

      1. I agree, it totally vexes me seeing other people’s notes, most of the time they are not at all relevant or I notice other tihngs in return…

    3. Me too! When I was in college, I always combed the used books for ones that didn’t have anything highlighted or underlined. Way too distracting for me.

    4. Completely agree. It is *awful* to get a book that is pre-written in or highlighted. I have some wicked desires to keep my books pristine and I never write/highlight them.
      Boyfriend got a used book this semester that was prehighlighted and he *loved* it…it made me want to burn it every time I saw it!

    5. As I was going through the comments, I only kept thinking “damn! Am I the only one who doesn’t like this?”

      Pre-highlighted works are all fun and games IF the previous student(s) were your clone. As everyone’s learning style is different, so will highlighting choices.

      I admit, I don’t mind (and secretly am thankful) when the previous owner highlighted key terms and similar things of global importance, but it’s usually just noise and distraction for my own studying.

  6. As a student I couldn’t agree more that getting a prehighlighted book is pretty much the greatest thing in the world because of two things:
    1) this means that I was able to actually find a used text book and save myself a ton of money (really why are textbooks so expensive, the book store always shows me a picture of where my money goes and how little they get but really someone is making a ton of money somewhere and it is coming out of my pockets)
    2) There are lots of times when I may not tune into something being important but when I see that someone else has highlighted something I will at least look into it just to make sure.

    My only suggestion is that people should be forced to post the mark that they received on the course as well by the textbook they are selling, if you sucked at the course then I will not pay much regard to your highlighting but if you got 100% you better believe that that highlighting is going to get careful attention.

    Highlighted textbooks AWESOME!

  7. Definitely NOT AWESOME, if the highlights are iremovable! I like being inspired by another person thoughts, but usually this person reads the text with other goals in mind than I have, so his/hers highlights come as an unnecessary distraction in the end.

  8. Yes that’s what I did highlighting important lines in “mindset The new psychology for success” by Carol Dweck. Even though my husband was not happy with what I was doing but I know someone will appreciate.

  9. I prefer to do the highlighting myself. Or actually not, because it’s super annoying. Instead I do little check marks at the ends of lines that are helpful. That way if the next person doesn’t like it, they can erase it.

  10. nope, have to disagree with this one. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a used textbook where the previous owner highlighted anything that I needed. Usually just the opposite! And it means that I had to search for a different coloured highlighter – not so bad nowadays, but back when I was in Uni (insert old voice here), only yellow was cheap and easy to find. I don’t mind when they leave pencilled notes in the margins, though. They were sometimes helpful, and easy to erase if they weren’t!

  11. I have the highlighter habit BAD! So, when I received two of the greatest books ever written as gifts, I swore I would keep them clean.
    *Certain #3 will be “1000 Awesome Things”, I receive in “counting down”
    2 weeks!!!
    1) “The Fabric of Autism”, Judith Bluestone, quote:
    “A misconception in many people’s minds, when they say, still today…
    ‘She has no theory of mind, she cannot communicate with me because she cannot fathom what my mind captures.’
    If this means not understanding how another person’s mind works, then how can anyone determine which of us it is who lacks this ability? Who determines what is the one true mind?”
    2) “Unattened Sorrow”, Stephen Levine:
    “Form a compassionate conspiracy of the shared heart. Be devoted to gratitude, grateful for oneanother, for love and kindness we are capable of generating. Grateful for truth, integrity, authenticity and a soul of grace.Grateful for ‘just this much’, this millisecond in time, which discovery is possible; timelessness of a moment, grateful for our capacity to be more alive each day!”
    Next thing I knew I was high-lightening-up pages of healing endorphinisms and swearing I’d share them wherever possible!
    Awesome how a one Liner can motivate such a Remarkable effect!
    hahahahappy day!

      1. Very good to know for many people who visit this site, I’m sure. If you mean Surrey, BC., I know some in need in that area- so thanks:)

  12. No, I’d put this on the 1000 Annoying Things netherlist. Sometimes the highlighted text is important to the person who highlighted it, but I may be looking for completely different information. It’s especially annoying when it’s pink highlighter, as that is far more distracting than the standard yellow. And sometimes people are just douchebags and highlight random crap just to annoy the next person. I once found a textbook that had almost every “and,” “the,” “that,” etc. highlighted. So much effort just to be annoying! I did not buy that copy, of course.

    1. Agreed. All the used books I ever purchased must have been previously owned by someone who misunderstood the purpose of highlighting.

  13. I love seeing what other people considered important or interesting enough to highlight. Sometimes it shows great insight, sometimes it just makes me wonder about the person who had the book before me :)

    My favorite highlighted books were hand-me-downs from my sister. Through high school we would have the same teachers, me a few years after her, and she would give me the books with the teachers opinion of important quotes, test questions, and key parts highlighted. That was awesome, and kept me ahead of the curve in high school english!

  14. Back in H.S., Undergrad and now grad school, I ALWAYS purchased used textbooks whenever I can get my hands on them. The more highlights and side margin hand written notes, the more AWESOME the find!

  15. I never highlighted anything in college (and rarely bought textbooks, but preferred them to be clean, over pre-highlighted)…

    My wife however, was a master.. we met in college, and I remember looking over at her, and she had no less than 4-5 different colors of highlighter that she would use at the same time (each one corresponding to something different).. she even highlighted with a ruler to keep things really perfect and precise..

    And it’s a wonder I didn’t pick up on all her OCD tendencies earlier.. :)

    1. Oooh, I loved having lots of colors of highlighters to use (then again, I’m a complete office supplies ADDICT and also have oodles of colored Sharpies, markers, pens, etc.)

      I like the ruler-highlighter idea. As previously mentioned, the used books I bought must have been owned by total idiots. They didn’t know what to highlight, nor HOW. Try focusing when you’re looking at really squiggly lines of brightly colored wrong information. It’s tough.

      That was, mind you, for when I actually read my textbooks. Uhh …

      1. Yeah – owning a textbook that my wife used was like striking “used textbook gold”.. 90% of your work would have been done for you..

        That’s assuming you could get past all the nutella smears, obviously.. ;)

          1. If that isn’t awesome, nothing is! Somehow, some way, the Nutella incident baby picture needs to get on this blog!

  16. I can’t believe that it is 3:14 EST and I’m the first one to quote Thornton Mellon from Back to School…

    Thornton Melon: [in college bookstore] Hey, you guys get everything you need?
    Jason Melon: Oh, yeah, we got it.
    Thornton Melon: Good… Hey! What’s with the used books?
    Jason Melon: Well, what’s wrong with used books?
    Thornton Melon: They’ve already been read!
    Jason Melon: Yeah, and they already been UNDER-LINED, too. Get it?
    Thornton Melon: That’s the problem. The last guy who under-lined them, he could have been a maniac! Hey, get these guys some new books. Huh? Get some new books, will ya?

  17. No. No no no! Not at ALL awesome. Irritating and vexatious, rather. Underlining in pencil, or making discrete comments in the margins is one thing, but glaring yellow splashes all the way through a book is distracting and vexatious. Especially from somebody more highlighter-happy than discerning.

    Now, buying second-hand books that have inscriptions in the front – from birthdays and Christmases and school prize-givings long ago… now THAT I can get behind!

    1. What odds will you guys give me that Angharad just learned the word “vexatious”.. I mean, using it once is one thing, but using it TWICE in TWO sentences?? Yowzas..

      People that do things like that are magniloquent. I just find that the repeated and obvious use of big words is really magniloquent.

      Just teasing! :)

      1. At least Angharad didn’t learn the word “hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian” today. I find it vexatious to read hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian words two sentences in a row :P

        1. Mea culpa; unremitting sesquipedalianism of idiolect is something of an unfortunate assuetude of mine (she replied, epexegetically). And the repetition was merely careless :0)

  18. If you get a highlighted book from a “kindred spirit” it is awesome…if you get one from someone who is totally out of your orbit, it’s very un-awesome.

  19. I’d appreciate a highlighted book for school with either A.) important need-to-know notes highlighted or B.) words that spell out something I can laugh at. Either of these are welcome, in my book (pun intended).

  20. I wish an erasable highlighter was invented and all book users used it (along with the pencil for the notes). This way, the highlights and notes are optional – if you do not like them, just erase them.

  21. This is awesome for me personally because it is relevant. I just started a sociology course and bought my textbook used from a friend, he highlighted all of it last semester and well this is just plain awesome. Thank you man, keep up the awesome work

  22. Especially I like when I found someoen highlighted with various colors,
    pink, yellow, green, blue…..I feel like I got color printing textbook.

  23. That works best when you’re taking a technical course (when the important stuff isn’t dependent upon the instructor’s interpretation), or (if it’s a humanities course), you have the same instructor as the last book owner.

    As a Philosophy major, I remember reading Socrates’ (Plato’s) Apology in three different classes. Each prof interpreted it differently! I mean SERIOUSLY differently. The second time it was assigned, I thought, “Oh, I got this!” because I’d read it the semester before. But as he lectured, I almost wondered if he was talking about a different Apology! I had to re-read it, and the highlights were TOTALLY different from the first time.

    I was read the third time, I went in with no illusions, knowing that it may be totally different than the last two times. It was.

  24. I don’t like it when people highlight books especially if they don’t know how to highlight properly (ie. important items only). It just tends to be distracting when a lot of things are emphasized.

    This is annoying!

  25. Funnily enough we got given copies of ‘A Passage to India’ today as we’re studying it next in English and someone has already highlighted bits, even adding their annotations. This would be awesome, but I noticed that they also labelled each chapter a number as they couldn’t understand the Roman numerals, even the first chapter, so this has given me some doubt as to whether I should trust their annotations.

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  27. i loaned out a book; it was never returned. several years later I found it in a used book store and re-bought it, filled with high lights and notes~ my own…awesome!
    Have you seen Gary? I hope to find him soon

  28. The highlighting is pretty much all the learning I do. If someone has already done it I fail my exam.

  29. Im rejection expert, except I stroke you immediately crafted an excellent spot. You openly appreciate what youre speaking about, and I can genuinely get behind that. Gratitude for being hence sincere and hence straightforward.

  30. As a student who hightlight everything (haven’t learned the trick of the trade yet) I love buying used, already hightlighted books! Recently discovered it saves me a lot of time studying, and money when buying used. If the hightlighting follows the general outline of the book, and you can tell the important stuff is hightlighted, why not take advantage of it if you, like me, tend to highlight everything if you have to do it yourself?

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