This article details the extra features found in the Premium Edition of our online course Building a Second Brain.
Both the Standard and Premium Editions contain the full curriculum. Twice per year, I guide a cohort of students through the curriculum via twice weekly Zoom calls. This format provides coaching and accountability to make sure that students succeed in the course.
Additionally, the Premium Edition includes the following features for an additional $699 USD ($499 if purchased upfront):
- 7 exclusive interviews with experts on how they use their Second Brain (including bloggers, coaches, designers, professors, and entrepreneurs known for their knowledge management skills and prolific output)
- 6 advanced tutorials on special areas of interest (such as managing images, visual thinking tools, using note templates, and making use of content bundles)
- The “Nerve Bundle” of 16 pre-formatted note templates, to help you hit the ground running
- 3-month subscription to the Praxis blog (with additional case studies, thought pieces, how to guides, and video walkthroughs)
Keep reading for more details on each of these features.
7 Exclusive Expert Interviews
In the main curriculum of the course, I present to you my “official” second brain system using Evernote. By adopting my recommendations wholesale, at least on a trial basis, you can get up and running quickly. But once you are familiar with my approach, it can be very helpful to see how other people do idea management. Especially people who are well-known for their effective use of knowledge.
These in-depth interviews explore how Tiago and other experts use their Second Brains to execute projects, create content, and automate business processes in the real world. You’ll see a wide variety of approaches to this fundamental practice, some of which don’t use Evernote, or even any software at all.
The Origins of Personal Knowledge Management, with Dr. Jason Frand (58:27): Dr. Frand is a former Professor and Director of the Anderson Computing & Information Services Center at UCLA. His paper launched PKM into the mainstream of business computing, and in this interview we discuss what drove him to formulate PKM as a distinct practice.
Interview and Discussion with Venkatesh Rao, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ribbonfarm (75:43): Venkatesh Rao is a leading thinker and blogger on innovation, the philosophy of technology, business strategy, and “refactoring,” a term he popularized that refers to seeing things differently. His writing on the Ribbonfarm blog has been the single greatest influence on my ideas and writing, and in this interview we talk about how he has sustained his creative output after more than a decade of long-form blogging.
Experience Design and Creative Flow, with Ting Kelly (68:19): Ting is an experience designer and entrepreneur who creates spaces, experiences, and products that bring more flow to work, in all its forms. In this interview, she shares her recommendations for enhancing the experience of flow through everything from specific tools, to morning rituals, to advanced calendaring, to food.
The Implications of Personal Knowledge Management, with Taylor Pearson (85:57): Taylor Pearson is an author, coach, and entrepreneur who wrote the best-selling book The End of Jobs. In this interview Taylor explains how he tracks and manages the information he consumes, both for short-term writing on his blog and for larger book projects.
Interview with Moritz Bierling on “Making a Second Brain Your Own” (67:08): Moritz Bierling is a prolific content creator, researcher, and founder of Existential Ventures. He was part of one of the first cohorts of Building a Second Brain, and since then has developed his own version with extensive modifications. In this fascinating conversation, Moritz takes us on a tour of his system and explains how it helps him maintain a wide array of projects while traveling constantly around the world.
Interview with Nat Eliason on “Scaling Knowledge Management Across Teams” (61:42): Nat Eliason is a prolific writer and founder of Growth Machine, a leading content marketing agency that has grown to 12 employees and nearly $3M ARR in just 2 years. Nat talks about his experience expanding his personal knowledge management practices across a quickly growing team, including screencasts of how he organizes SOPs (standard operating procedures) for his team in Notion.
Interview with Buster Benson (57:44): Buster Benson is a well-known blogger and veteran of tech companies such as Amazon, Kickstarter, and Patreon. His writing has been highly influential on me, including Live Like a Hydra (which introduced me to the idea of using “work modes” or emotional states as a guide to what to work on), 750 Words (an experiment in daily writing), and his Codex Vitae (a public repository of his personal values, principles, and beliefs, updated regularly). Buster is coming out with a new book called Why Are We Yelling? which explores how to have productive disagreements. In this interview we talk about his creative process (including screencasts of his note-taking setup in Bear) and how he turns his information consumption into published creative works.
6 Advanced Tutorials
Taking BASB is like being airdropped onto an exotic landscape on an alien planet. You have enough supplies and knowledge to survive, but you also have the option of striking out and exploring the terrain.
Do you head toward the Mountains of Content Creation, to scale its intimidating, but exhilarating peaks? Do you turn toward the Desert of Academic Research to sift through the sands for the diamond in the rough? Or maybe you hike along the beautiful Blog Coast, and dive into the wealth of insights on popular blogs.
Each of these advanced tutorials is like a map for the aspect of building a Second Brain that you want to explore further, giving you a pathway to master whichever one is most important to your work or life.
Advanced tutorials include:
Becoming an Evernote Power User, with Stacey Harmon (84:12): Stacey Harmon is one of the world’s foremost experts on Evernote and how to use it as a centralized organizational tool for your entire life. Her course Radical Productivity with Evernote teaches people how to become Evernote “power users,” and in this tutorial she presents a summarized version of her method.
Creative Problem Solving and Visual Thinking, with Chuck Frey (77:16): Chuck Frey is a recognized expert on mind mapping, visual thinking, and creative problem-solving, which he writes about on his blog, the Mind Mapping Software Blog, and in ebooks. In this tutorial, Chuck takes us through his top recommendations on software and techniques for creative thinking using technology.
Planning and Creating Note Templates with Evernote, with Stacey Harmon and Tiago Forte (109:35): Originally delivered as a special one-time webinar, this tutorial walks through the process of identifying, formulating, designing, creating, and using note templates in Evernote. This is one of the most powerful methods for saving time and effort, standardizing repeatable tasks, and helping you spend more time on the work that matters.
Practical Evernote, with Frank Gerber (87:55) Frank Gerber is an entrepreneur, writer, consultant, and startup advisor who has used Evernote in all aspects of his business and life. In this tutorial, he walks us through his Evernote setup and how he uses the program to prototype new business processes. He also talks about how a notebook he initially used to manage rental properties turned into a whole new business, called Centriq.
The Secrets of Content Bundles, with Tiago Forte (57:25): In this tutorial, I walk you through my process for taking advantage of “content bundles” – any large volume of digital content you gain access to as part of an online course, seminar, database, or limited time promotion. I show you how to use customized templates I’ve designed over the years to quickly summarize the purpose of a piece of content, so you can save it for future use instead of trying to consume it immediately.
How to Create Effective Images for Blog Posts, with Tiago Forte (59:12): In this tutorial, I show you how I create beautiful AND effective images for my slides, blog posts, websites, social media posts, and videos. Using the BASB philosophy of building on the work of others, and re-using assets, I explain how to create world-class imagery without spending much time or effort.
The Nerve Bundle Note Templates
All of the techniques taught in BASB rely only on the simplest features of digital note-taking apps: lists, outlines, formatted text, and links.
But it can be helpful to use pre-formatted templates designed specifically for the techniques I teach. They ensure you’re automatically following my guidelines, help you avoid common pitfalls, and allow you to start your PKM practice on a solid foundation.
The Nerve Bundle is a shared Evernote notebook that includes customized templates for each of the 16 Workflow Strategies taught in the course:
Using any one of these strategies is as simple as duplicating a note and filling in the details. Evernote now includes a built-in feature that allows you to save templates in your own template library, which you can pull from any time you create a new note.
While these templates are made for Evernote, you can easily copy and paste them to the platform of your choice.
You’ll also have access to future updates to the Nerve Bundle, which will be published to the same notebook and synced automatically.
3-Month Praxis Subscription
After completing the course, you’ll have a new awareness of the important questions and frontiers in the world of Personal Knowledge Management. If you’d like some help keeping abreast of recent trends, powerful new ideas, alternative approaches, and other examples of PKM in action, my members-only blog Praxis is a great place to start.
Each month, I send out 1-3 in-depth posts on a wide variety of topics related to productivity, effectiveness, and learning. These include everything from summaries of influential books, case studies of Second Brains in the wild, new conceptual models that shed light on modern work, and personal reflections and experiences of my own.
Here’s a sample of the members-only posts published over the past year. Clicking a story will show you a short preview of the post.
If you want to continue being part of the Praxis community after 3 months, you can subscribe for $10 per month or $100 per year.
You’ll also get lifetime access to future updates and additions to the Premium Edition. I am constantly creating new content and filming new videos, and I will periodically add them to the curriculum.
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