Building a Second Brain

Second Brains in the Wild

I’m often surprised when people find the idea of a “Second Brain” – a system of knowledge management that lives outside one’s head – to be fanciful or unrealistic. When in fact, the practice of saving and storing important information in a trusted place is ubiquitous. Professionals of all kinds have developed ways of documenting…

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What do you call your Second Brain?

A system of personal knowledge management, which I call a “Second Brain,” is an indispensable part of any modern professional’s toolkit. Because it is such a personal tool, it’s important to give it a name that evokes the special relationship you have with it. Here is a collection of alternative names for a Second Brain…

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Octavia Estelle Butler: Notetaking as Science Fiction

Octavia Estelle Butler was born in 1947 in Pasadena, CA. Known in her early years as “Estelle,” she was raised by a single, widowed mother who worked domestic jobs to make ends meet. Painfully shy and introverted from a young age, Estelle became an easy target for bullying at school. Her shyness combined with slight…

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Second Brain Case Study: Sleep Training an Infant

Many of the case studies I share about how I use digital notes involve major writing projects, because that is the most challenging kind of project I use my Second Brain for. But there is a different kind of use case that is just as meaningful: everyday life challenges. Challenges like troubleshooting the wifi at…

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The Godfather Notebook

In 1969, studio executives at Paramount Pictures were desperate to find a film director for a new movie they had purchased the rights to. It was to be a crime drama based on the New York Mafia. One after another, all the top directors of the era turned the project down. They all found it…

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The Box: Twyla Tharp on Project-Based Organizing

In my PARA Method, I teach people how to organize all their digital notes and files using a simple, 4-part system. Your computer is your working environment for many of your waking hours. Until you take control of it and design it to support the kinds of thinking you want to do, every minute spent there…

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Building a Second Brain in Miro

I recently hired designer and writer Michael Dean to summarize my Building a Second Brain course in visual form. Michael is the writing coach and lead facilitator for The Writer’s Studio, a new cohort-based writing workshop he recently launched in partnership with David Perell. I asked Michael to take the course as a participant, and to document the main lessons…

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Artificial Time

We’ve been led to believe that we are at the precipice of an Artificial Intelligence explosion. Yet the progress in our digital assistants and self-driving cars seems to have stalled. Computers choke at even the simplest requests, and most of the digital world continues to be handcrafted by humans. But quietly, hidden in plain sight,…

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Teachable Workshop: How to Take Digital Notes with Tiago Forte

I recently taught this workshop on How to Take Digital Notes, hosted by Teachable, the online learning platform I use for my courses. This is an introductory workshop for people just getting into this crazy world of Second Brains, personal knowledge management, and digital notetaking. I presented some of the core concepts you’ll need to know…

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Book Update #1: Popularizing the Second Brain

The #1 question I’m receiving these days is “When does your book come out?”

(If you’re just joining, I’m writing a book based on my online course Building a Second Brain)

So I’ve decided to give you all an update on how it’s going and what I’ve learned so far.

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