I’m very proud to present my new book, Ways of Knowing, a curated collection of 14 essays with my very best writing from the past two years.
The book explores the various forms of intelligence we have at our disposal as humans – not only cognitive but emotional, intuitive, somatic, and social – and how we can learn to tap into that intelligence with profound benefits for our health, performance, and happiness.
Pre-order the book on Amazon at the link below, and it will be automatically delivered to your device upon release on January 25, 2021.
Included with your purchase of this Kindle ebook is a complete copy of the book in Roam, a networked note-taking tool that allows you to connect ideas together and add your own thoughts (called an rBook). You’ll find a link and instructions to access it at the end of the book.
I’ll be hosting a live Q&A call in February to answer any questions about the book’s contents or creation. We’ll also be joined by Luca Dellanna, who compiled the rBook version and has some powerful tips for how to make the best use of it in Roam Research. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to receive an invite to the call.
You can read the Foreword below, which explains what the book is about and how the essays it contains are tied together under the banner of “ways of knowing.”
Foreword from Ways of Knowing
I am obsessed with the nature of knowledge – what it is, where it comes from, how it’s created, and how to help people use it more effectively.
Years ago I set off on an intellectual pursuit to answer these questions. I studied the inner workings of the human brain, lessons from psychology and neuroscience, and the principles of information technology to try and understand what it means to “know” something. I documented that journey in my book Extend Your Mind.
But as I went deeper and deeper, I began to see that there was a completely different way of understanding knowledge, as I shared in The Heart is the Bottleneck. As embodied instead of dissociated, as intuitive instead of analytical, as somatic instead of cerebral.
I was slowly drawn to aspects of human experience that I was much less familiar with – personal growth, emotional intelligence, and the relationship between mind and body. I discovered that so much of our most precious knowledge isn’t stored in the form of facts and figures. It is stored inside the body and the heart as memories, instincts, traumas, and dreams.
Ways of Knowing weaves together these different ways of knowing I’ve discovered, from head to heart to gut. It includes 14 in-depth essays previously published on my Praxis blog, which have been edited for clarity and updated for accuracy. The odd-numbered chapters trace my ongoing explorations of the logical side of human knowledge, while the even-numbered chapters focus on the emotional and intuitive side.
The mind and the body are deeply intertwined, and it is essential to understand both. The logical approach of the mind allows us to learn from others via facts and research, while the intuitive-emotional approach of the body allows us to learn via our own experience. Like the double helix of a DNA strand, these two sides of ourselves interact and reinforce each other to enable us to “know” things on many levels and in many ways.
I’ve come to understand the heart and body as a vast, subterranean intelligence that extends far beyond anything we can consciously know. It draws on the unseen depths of our genetics, our ancestral history, our web of social relationships, and the natural environment we evolved in. The body is like an instrument panel with dozens of specialized sensors, taking in more kinds of data from more sources than we can imagine.
As we develop our self-awareness, we can begin to tap into this vast intelligence. It can guide us in making better decisions, letting go of beliefs that no longer serve us, and following the courage of our convictions. We can access it when we need to expand beyond our limited point of view, when a challenge demands more than we think we can give, or we’ve lost hope and need to be reminded that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
It is an inexhaustible source of wisdom that is always available to us if we know how to reach down and access it.
My goal is to better understand the nature of knowledge by reuniting the mind and body that modern society so often treats as completely separate. To recruit every form of intelligence at our disposal to help us live better, happier, more fulfilling lives.
The odd-numbered chapters (focusing on the logical side of knowledge) include:
- Chapter 1 – Commonplace Books: Creative Note-Taking Through History: The history of note-taking across cultures and around the world and what we can learn from it
- Chapter 3 – A History of Information Revolutions: A framework for understanding information explosions of the past, including how to use them to our advantage
- Chapter 5 – Building a Second Brain: An Overview: A summary and overview of the methodology for personal knowledge management I’ve been developing for more than 10 years
- Chapter 7 – The Story Behind Building a Second Brain: The story of how Building a Second Brain – the method, the course, and the movement – came to be
- Chapter 9 – 7 Trends Driving the Note-Taking Revolution: A survey of the most powerful trends driving worldwide interest in digital note-taking as a crucial skill for all knowledge workers
- Chapter 11 – The Complete Guide to Tagging for Personal Knowledge Management: A how-to guide on incorporating tagging as part of your knowledge management system, based on the principles I’ve discovered across different fields
- Chapter 13 – The 10 Paradoxes of Entrepreneurship: My examination of the paradoxes that lie at the heart of entrepreneurship, or any other ambitious endeavor
Even-numbered chapters (on the emotional-intuitive side of knowledge) include:
- Chapter 2 – How Emotions Are Made: The Theory of Constructed Emotion: The biological basis of the phenomena that govern our waking lives – our emotions – and how they work to both protect and limit us
- Chapter 4 – The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma: A summary of the groundbreaking work on trauma by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and what it can teach us about how our experiences are encoded in our nervous system
- Chapter 6 – Tiago Forte’s Origin Story: A short autobiography (so far), which I wrote to understand the events in my life that led me to where I am today
- Chapter 8 – Pleasure as an Organizing Principle: My deep dive into how we can use pleasure as the organizing principle of our lives, as opposed to self-sacrifice
- Chapter 10 – Servant Hedonism: My Life Philosophy: A declaration of my newly recognized life philosophy, combining self-service with service to others
- Chapter 12 – What It Feels Like to Have a Second Brain: A personal description of how it feels to be in the flow of working with my Second Brain
- Chapter 14 – Groundbreakers: My Journey Healing Trauma, Unleashing Anger, and Awakening the Vagus Nerve: The story of my journey of more than a decade as I struggled with an unexplained medical condition, which became my gateway to understanding my emotions and unlocking the potential of my unconscious mind
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Thank you for being part of this journey with me, and for trusting me to illuminate part of it for you.
Long Beach, CA
January 12, 2021
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