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Paperitis Review: Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials," Third Edition

If you haven't read Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials," you're seriously missing out. This easy-peasy program is easier with Brett's help

Awhile back, we asked Floyd, one of our Paperitis team members, to review the second edition of Brett Kelly's Evernote Essentials. If you missed it, you can see his original review here:


The punchline is that we've been recommending Evernote Essentials as the best way to get started with Evernote for the past few years -- and we certainly haven't changed our minds with this new edition. Since Brett provides customers with free updates for the life of the product, previous Evernote Essentials customers get this new version free.

When we learned about the new version, it seemed only natural to ask Floyd to review this third edition. Here's Floyd's latest review:

One thing you can count on with anything written by Brett Kelly is that it won't be boring. In fact, Brett is almost as well known for his breezy, educational, and above all witty style as he is for the fact that he's written the definitive guide to Evernote, the unbeatable online document storage app.

For those of you who've been living the hermit's life for the past half-decade, Evernote is a kind of holy grail for those of us who want to overcome Paperitis --right up there with the iPad. If somehow that name is also a mystery to you, get on the 'Net and look 'em up -- stat!

Evernote has changed a great deal recently and Brett has rewritten over half of his book. We especially liked the new chapter on Evernote for Mac.

A Teensy Little Critique

We love "Evernote Essentials," and we think you will, too. But we've never believed in the old "if you don't love it, leave it" approach, so let's get something out of the way up front.

At 86 pages, Brett's first version of "Evernote Essentials" was a featherweight powerhouse of a guide. It delivered a lot of punch for its size, and could be read in an afternoon. It made it easy to comprehend how simple and effective a program that copies and organizes every little thing can be.

But fast forward a couple of years, and because Evernote itself has grown like kudzu on steroids, the Essentials have ballooned to 159 pages.

A Bit Much

So it takes somewhat longer to read now, and frankly, it's not quite as snappy as the original. There's a lot of new stuff. And we really miss the chapter from Version 1 that tells you how Evernote can assist your career as a Covert Double Agent.

Truth is, Evernote Essentials now works better as a reference to be picked up and put down when necessary than as something to be devoured in one gulp.

All That Said...

..."Evernote Essentials" is still the sine qua non of the Evernote world, and no one's blaming Brett for Evernote's dizzying growth, which required the near-doubling in length.

Hey, he wasn't the one who told Evernote to absorb every company it saw and build everything it could grab into its still surprisingly simple interface.

In fact, it's apparent that Brett cut to the bone to keep his latest guide from getting too big. Unlike some of the bloated manuals we've struggled through, it's light, airy, to the point... and actually helpful. Yikes! What'll they think of next?

Maybe the better question is, "What won't they think of next?" This is not your grandfather's Evernote (even assuming your family has very short generations and Gramps was an early adopter). There are still a few corners of the world it hasn't conquered yet, but they're getting rarer.

The Bottom Line

As Evernote itself has grown and evolved, so has Brett's "Evernote Essentials." That's inevitable. It's somewhat longer than before, but it covers much more territory. And it remains far and away the most useful Evernote guide we've seen.

So Brett's book is still at least as fun as a small barrel of monkeys, while simultaneously being more useful than a lock pick at a crook convention. Like the original, it's also clear as mountain spring water and even easier to understand. All that and cumin waffles, too.

Hats off to all your hard work, Brett. We look forward to enjoying the next version!