Below you can find the major changes we’ve made to each version of our Building a Second Brain online course.
Version 14 (April 12 – May 10, 2022)
Signed Hardcover Edition of the Book
All new students in Cohort 14 receive a signed, hardcover edition of Tiago’s upcoming book Building a Second Brain. They will be among the first people in the world to benefit from the most succinct, distilled version of the BASB methodology we’ve ever released.
1 Year of Premium Access to Readwise
One of the main challenges that Second Brainers confront is “integrating” their various apps together. There isn’t “one app to rule them all,” and everyone at some point finds the need to get different platforms to work together. There is one service that stands out in this regard: Readwise. All new students in Cohort 14 receive one year of premium access to this ultimate second-brain companion.
- Tech Week: We’ve added a whole week of sessions designed to help you choose a notes app and learn the features of the app you’ve chosen (and the best ways of capturing content into it) from people who have already mastered it.
- Alumni Sprints: Our Alumni Mentors will lead a series of 1-week “sprints” after the end of the cohort on practical ways to apply what you’ve learned to your projects, goals, and creative challenges.
- BASB for Your Profession and Creative Medium: Besides recommending specific mentor sessions to match your notetaking app of choice, we will now also recommend them based on the kind of work you do.
- Guided Tour of Tiago’s Second Brain: We’re adding an in-depth guided tour of all the nooks and crannies of Tiago’s system of knowledge management across Evernote, Notion, and Obsidian to the Second Brain Vault.
- Tiago’s Favorite Book Vault: We’ll share a collection of notes on 20 of the most impactful books on Tiago’s thinking. This collection represents approximately 100 hours of mental effort to surface and summarize the most unusual, life-changing takeaways from 20 unique books out of the hundreds he’s read over the past decade.
- Tiago’s Collection of 4 Ebooks: We’re making 4 books available that represent virtually the entirety of Tiago’s life’s work going back years, all curated and organized in a distraction-free reading environment.
- New Case Study “Launching the BASB Book to the World”: We’ll take you behind the scenes of how Tiago finished writing, launching, and promoting his first published book.
Version 13 (November 3 – December 8, 2021)
Limiting Lifetime Access to Future Cohorts
One of the biggest changes we’re making is limiting lifetime access to future live cohorts to the Premium and Executive Editions only.
The Essential Edition will have access to this cohort only but will retain lifetime access to both future updates to the pre-recorded curriculum and future iterations of the ever-growing alumni Circle community.
We’re determined to keep the most affordable price at $1,500, so instead of increasing the price to support larger cohorts and hire more staff (as we’ve done in the past), we are limiting the size of the group for both this cohort and future ones.
Students who joined the Essential Edition can upgrade to the Premium Edition later (but it will be more affordable to purchase Premium upfront).
- New Interactive, Studio-Quality Live Sessions: We’ll be streaming from our new world-class live recording studio with ultra-high-definition video and broadcast-quality audio that will completely change how our students experience our live Zoom sessions.
- Improved Accessibility and Recordings: We’re adding live captions to our Zoom sessions and our transcripts and recordings are now Section 508 compliant.
- More Engaging, Newly Redesigned Live Exercises: We’ve worked with a master facilitator (and virtual theatre program director) to develop a new set of intentional exercises to help our students put the BASB principles into practice.
- New Case Study: Tiago is taking our students behind the scenes of one of the largest, most complex projects he has ever undertaken: the writing of his upcoming book.
- Revamped Alumni Mentor Program: We selected 10 Senior Mentors, all with previous mentoring experience, to guide our students.
- Mentor Session Recordings: For the first time, we’ll make the full recordings (plus transcripts) of the Mentor Sessions available to all students.
- Customizable Communication: We’ve created a new orientation lesson to show our students how to configure their email and Circle notifications so they don’t miss anything.
- Redesigned Onboarding Experience: We have a dedicated Welcome Week to give our students time to prepare for the program. They’ll get guidance and a concrete checklist on how to be successful in Building a Second Brain and make the most of this learning opportunity.
- Updated Second Brain Snapshot: We’re adding reflection questions to the Snapshot to help our students recall the changes they’ve made and compare how they’ve improved over the 5 weeks of the course.
- Redesigned Course Forum: Each major notetaking tool (such as Evernote, Notion, and Roam) will have its own evergreen space in Circle, dedicated to discussions around that tool.
- New Moderator Program: The new spaces will be moderated by 2-4 alumni who specialize in the different notetaking tools and use them day to day. They’ll help answer questions and curate the best tips, techniques, and demos each week.
Version 12 (May 5–June 4, 2021)
- Studio-quality videos: Two brand-new, studio-quality videos (Welcome video and Unit 1), incorporating all the previous feedback we’ve received from past cohorts.
- Pre-recorded CODE videos: Newly re-recorded lesson videos for units 2-5 on the CODE Methodology, reflecting the latest Second Brain principles with higher production values.
- Beginner and Advanced tracks: The course will now be divided into Beginner and Advanced tracks, including dedicated lessons, Alumni Mentor Groups, and Circle spaces for each track. This will give our students options for tailoring the program to their own level of experience and needs.
- Expanded Alumni Mentor program: 30 Alumni Mentors will deliver 1-hour live sessions each week. Students can opt in to Mentor groups based on their notetaking tool of choice, time zones, and shared interests. Mentors are receiving more training on preparation and facilitation to help students implement their Second Brain and reach weekly milestones.
- Feedback Pods: Students will be able to join optional Feedback Pods, organized by time zone. These small student groups will provide accountability, support, and feedback on classwork in a smaller, more intimate setting.
- Redesigned course forum: The Circle forum has been refocused around sharing techniques and examples for top notetaking apps (Evernote, Notion, Roam) for both the Beginner and Advanced tracks. This will help students easily find the content most relevant to them, while ignoring content that doesn’t apply to them. The best of the examples and demos shared in these spaces will compound across future cohorts.
- Friday Happy Hour: Optional one-hour social event each Friday. These events give students the chance to meet their classmates in a casual setting with a reimagined approach to networking for the Information Age. Happy hour sessions will be focused on meeting others rather than course content.
- Student Directory: Students will have the option to join the Second Brain Course Directory. The directory will highlight students’ regions, professions, and goals for the program, making it easier to find others with related interests across past and future cohorts.
- Digital workbooks: Weekly lessons will be accompanied by digital workbooks that allow students to track their progress and follow templates for the major milestones of the program.
- Second Brain Vault: Updated and expanded resource library with video clips and examples focused on information capture, PARA setup, and top Q&A answers from Tiago.
- In-depth articles: All students will now have access to all of Tiago’s Praxis blog posts related to Building a Second Brain, including series on the PARA method, Progressive Summarization, Just-in-Time Project Management, and more. These are optional supplements going deeper into the pillars of the course.
Version 11 (August 31–September 30, 2020)
- Restructured curriculum: Curriculum has been redesigned to simplify and streamline the BASB method and refocus on the core techniques. We’ve eliminated extraneous lessons, and combined in-class exercises with implementation steps. The curriculum also has a new focus on project management and retrievability.
- Revamped course content: Course has been rebuilt to include the latest lessons, discussion topics, exercises, and case studies. Version 11 will feature re-recorded module videos, new live session presentations, and new in-class demos. We’ve also added a new welcome video and course overview.
Alumni Mentors and Student Groups
- Mentor-led Student Groups: Each Alumni Mentor will lead a weekly 1-hour Student Group meeting on Zoom, independent of Tiago’s live sessions. Students will opt-in to groups based on note-taking tools, time zones, and shared interests with mentors. Mentor-led sessions will now be offered seven days a week, in Europe/Africa and APAC-friendly time zones.
Office Hours with Tiago
- Bonus Office Hours: Tiago will stay after each Monday / Wednesday live session for 30 minutes of Q&A, bonus walkthroughs, and demos. These sessions will be recorded and shared in the course curriculum for those who can’t attend live.
- Direct messaging: Circle, the course forum, now allows for direct messaging between students. This will allow for easier 1:1 collaboration and connections among students.
- Interest groups: Students have the option to create and join Interest Groups on the Circle forum. Students will have a directory to choose from with groups based on geography, note-taking tools, professions, hobbies, or other areas of interest.
- BASB Knowledge Base: Updated student Knowledge Base added to Circle with answers to frequently asked questions related to course logistics and delivery.
- Three new Media Libraries:
- BASB Q&A repository: A new database of frequently asked questions related to course content, featuring concise answers from Tiago.
- Summarization: 13-part library featuring progressively summarized notes from a mix of sources.
- Workflow Strategies: 12-part library featuring examples of workflow strategies for intermediate packets of work.
- BASB Welcome Week: After the enrollment period closes, students will have a one-week buffer period to prepare for the cohort. The following components will be in the onboarding materials:
- Onboarding survey
- Pre-requisite module videos
- Alumni Mentor Q&A calls
- Choosing a note-taking tool workshop
- BASB beginner toolkit recommendations
- Getting Stuff Done task management workshop
Premium Coaching Calls
- Premium Calls: New version 11 Premium Edition students will have access to two coaching calls with Tiago each week, on Thursday evenings and Friday mornings. Past Premium Edition students will have access to call recordings in the Premium curriculum, and will also have the option to upgrade to live coaching call attendance.
- Capstone Day: Special Zoom call in the final week of the course to highlight creative student Capstone Projects created using BASB principles
Version 10 (April 6–May 6, 2020)
- How to Take a Digital Note: free workshop with Tiago’s best advice on how to take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital notes to enhance your learning and productivity
- New Second Brain Podcast: key ideas from the Building a Second Brain course explained by Tiago in small, bite-size audio episodes you can listen to on the go
- Student Spotlights series: a new series of student success stories to show how graduates have put their Second Brain to use in their work and lives
- New online community platform: we are moving our student discussion forum to a new, easier-to-use community platform customized for our students and integrated directly into the curriculum, called Circle
- Local in-person meetups: organized in major cities for BASB students, alumni, and wider community of enthusiasts, to help you connect with others interested in Personal Knowledge Management
- New Student Groups: students will be assigned to small groups based on the Capstone Project they have selected, to give you more opportunities for accountability, collaboration, and making friends with your fellow students
- New Alumni Mentors: alumni from past cohorts will provide additional support to each student group
- Onboarding calls: group onboarding calls with the Course Manager for every new student to make sure you have everything you need to complete the course successfully
- New student orientation: a new email series introducing each part of the course to new students over the first several weeks of the course
- New two-week implementation period: we are extending the support we offer (through email and the discussion forum) for two weeks after the official end of the course, so you can implement everything you’ve learned and get any final questions answered
- Premium Edition only: Extra coaching calls: four extra weekly calls for Premium Edition purchasers only, where Tiago will help you work through practical challenges and answer questions in a smaller group
- New Capstone Project: a redesigned curriculum centered around a concrete creative project selected by each student, to put their Second Brain into action right away
- Bonus workshop: Automating Your Notes with Readwise: we are partnering with Readwise, a service that automates the process of saving your reading highlights as digital notes, to show you the best practices and lesser known features that can save you hours every month
- Introductory text for each video: a short introduction and key takeaways for each lecture video to make it easer to review what you’ve learned
- Shorter, more frequent, more focused live calls: in response to student feedback, we are switching to ten 60-minute calls (instead of five 90-minute ones) to give us more time for feedback and coaching, to make it easier to attend live, and to make it easier to catch up if you miss a call
- Scholarship program: a needs-based scholarship application for disadvantaged students to make the course accessible to as many people as possible
Version 9.0 (October 2019)
- Welcome video: a short introductory video for new students, setting the context and mindset that will help ensure their success
- New walkthrough video for ebooks: demonstration of export features for Kindle ebooks, to save reading highlights in a notes app
- “The Capture Habit” lecture: new video in unit 3 that explains what kinds of information to save in your notes, why it’s important to make that decision intentionally, and the 3 easiest ways to save highlights and excerpts from the reading you’re already doing
- Revised unit 6 video: a new approach to “Workflow Strategies” that incorporates our recent learning into how people structure their creative process
- Course Roadmap: a recommended 4-week schedule for completing the course, including which videos to watch and assignments to complete each week
- New “Capture Challenge” to save at least two notes for every day of the course, to kickstart your knowledge collection habits
- 6 new actionable exercises: each one designed to prime your Second Brain for effectiveness from day one, including: Default Capture, PARA Notebooks, Inbox Triage, Project Completion Checklist, Status Summary, and Archipelago of Ideas
- 3 new student case studies: case studies from graduates of the course showing how they use their Second Brain in their daily work and projects (including UX Design at Adobe, Progressive Summarization in the Intelligence Community, and Using Digital Notes for Stand-Up Comedy)
- New 22-page PDF workbook to guide your progress through the course, including:
- A Course Roadmap laying out the lectures, case studies, and exercises you’ll be completing each week
- A Personal Knowledge Management Self-Assessment, which you can use to evaluate your current skills
- A checklist of “30 Ideas of Things to Save for Creative Inspiration,” to prompt ideas of things to save in your notes
- 1-page “cheat sheets” for PARA and Progressive Summarization, to remind you of the key principles
- 10 Principles of Building a Second Brain, a brief overview of the 10 most important principles you’ll be learning
- 18 Productivity Tips for Working With Your Second Brain, a summary of the most effective tips I’ve found for getting things done by leveraging your Second Brain
- Building a Second Brain Overview, an article summarizing the main principles and practices of the Building a Second Brain methodology
Version 8.0 (June 2019)
- Simplified PARA Setup Guide: this exercise has been greatly simplified down to a 10-minute video that has you archive your existing files in a safe place and then start over with a blank slate
- Simplified Project List Mindsweep: simplified and streamlined to help you identify your active projects as effortlessly as possible
- 11 new Capture Library tutorials: we’ve created a series of short tutorials walking you step by step through the most common ways of “capturing” information into your note-taking system
- Official support for Microsoft OneNote for course exercises and implementation
- New case studies (Premium Edition only):
- The Secrets of Content Bundles: explains how to triage any bundle of content you download online so it’s ready for future projects, without taking a lot of time upfront
- Creating Slides Using Templates: walks you through the process of customizing professionally designed slide templates for your own use, and building a slide library for future talks or presentations
- Writer’s Edition live cohort July 3-24: I will be teaching a 3-week live cohort focused on personal knowledge management for writers as part of our 2019 Summer of Learning. David Perell and I will move through the course together, with four 90-minute live calls (Wednesdays from 10–11:30am PT) where I’ll share special examples, bonus content, and exercises designed to facilitate the writing process. Office hours via Slack will be held every Friday from 10–11am PT. The cohort will be open to all current and past participants, and recordings will be uploaded weekly to the Media Library.
Version 7.0 (Jan. 2019)
- One-time live bootcamp version for current and past participants (to replace monthly group calls)
- Access to Anti-Book Club book summary archives (in-depth progressive summaries of 59 books related to BASB)
- New and improved RandomNote app version 2.0 and walkthrough tutorial (a customized web app we created to randomly resurface notes from your Evernote notebooks for review)
- Fixed broken links and clarified instructions and wording
- Updated BASB Media page with links to free interviews, case studies, and articles
- New page on the Praxis blog showing only BASB-related posts (free and members-only)
- New advanced tutorial for premium tier only: Creating Note Templates with Evernote (with Stacey Harmon)
Version 6.0 (August 2018)
- New in-depth case study #4: Business Development with PKM
- Moved P.A.R.A. walkthrough videos from main curriculum to Media Library
- Other improvements to the curriculum and online forum
Version 5.1 (March 2018)
- Added in-depth case study #3: Long-Form Writing Using PKM
- Added 1-page document summarizing BASB takeaways: 20 Commandments of BASB
- Added customizable Table of Contents and schedule for self-paced learning
- Added PKM Self-Assessment for measuring improvement after the course ends
Version 5.0 (Feb. 2018)
- Added 21-part screenshare walkthrough of P.A.R.A. Setup Checklist (downloading and installing Evernote, importing common media types, and organizing into PARA notebooks and stacks)
- Created course orientation video showing how to use 3 main course platforms and the online forum categories
- Added in-video callouts and timestamped links for key resources mentioned in videos (found in a text box below each video)
- Scheduled ongoing, monthly group calls for all current and past participants
- Added a coaching program for implementing BASB techniques
- Edited BrainyBot to include tips and advice for completing the course successfully, and inspirational testimonials from previous participants
- Created new Slack channel for all current and past participants
- Transitioned course from live to self-paced format
Version 4.0 (Dec. 2017)
- “Flipped” the classroom, assigning pre-recorded lectures as homework, and dedicating live sessions to deep dives, examples, discussion, and exercises
- Created a v1 of PKM Self-Assessment, to determine what level of PKM someone currently operates at
- Added coaching edition, including 1-on-1 coaching and weekly group coaching
- Created v1 of Nerve Bundle, a set of pre-formatted templates designed to enable workflow strategies
- Added new versions of RandomNote for Windows and browser, including new features
- Reconfigured forum category for Dev Group to identify different versions and collect feedback on them
- Added new content on compression principles of Progressive Summarization
- Redesigned takeaway emails to be clearer and more actionable
- Modified course curriculum to call out action steps explicitly and make modules shorter
- Created and tested new P.A.R.A. Migration Checklist
- Adapted and tested new Project List Mindsweep exercise to clearly identify all projects
- Added new exercises 10-Year Countdown and Inspiration Everywhere
- Launched and tested v1 of BrainyBot, to provide automated reminders and facilitate engagement
- Added new project ideas to Post-BASB Next Steps thread
Version 3.0 (Sept. 2017)
- Worked with Ben Mosior as Course Manager, who took on many backend logistical responsibilities and provided feedback on the forum, among other things
- Created RandomNote app to randomly surface Evernote notes based on search criteria, and wrote post explaining how and why it works
- Created Media Library as a central repository of latest version of lecture videos, as well as guest lectures/interviews
- Started Dev Group, a group of current and past participants interested in designing or developing software around PKM
- Clarified difference between Get Stuff Done Like a Boss and Building a Second Brain
- Added implementation sessions, for people to share their screen and get targeted guidance on their PKM setup
- Created personalized diagnostic reports, highlighting areas for improvement, for each participant based on their survey and exercise responses
- New in-depth case study, showcasing informal project planning using PKM tools and methods
- Redesigned online forum to be easier to navigate, added highlighting feature, and made top resources list
- Completely changed Unit 8: The Big Picture to incorporate Eras of Productivity, Container vs. Stream Thinking, Curation, Scarcity vs. Abundance
- Added slides to final debrief, summarizing the next steps on the PKM journey and some parting thoughts
Version 2.0 (May 2017)
- All 8 units were recorded and uploaded separately as shorter, more condensed videos
- Added new slides to all units, and made edits to existing slides to make the explanations and examples more clear
- Renamed Unit 7: Making It All Work to P.A.R.A.: Organizing for Insight, and moved it to unit 2 to form the foundation on which everything else is built
- Switched Unit 3: Maximizing Return on Attention and Unit 4: Progressive Summarization, to give the practical method first, followed by the underlying principles and theory
- Combined Unit 5: The Design of Discoverability and Unit 6: Workflow & Retrieval into a new Unit 6: Just-In-Time Project Management
- Added more workflow strategies to the new unit 6, and organized them according to a “diagnosis”of the problem or situation in which they are most useful
- Introduced new final project: completing a PKM Workflow Canvas to summarize what you’ve learned in the course, as a springboard for further improvement
- Added a new Unit 7: PKM Workflow Canvas, introducing and explaining how the canvas works
- Added a PKM Case Study showing how the new techniques are used in a real project
- New Unit 8: The Big Picture
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