29 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2022
    1. As Tiago Forte writes in his excellent book, ‘Building a Second Brain’, “every bit of energy we spend straining to recall things is energy not spent doing the thinking that only humans can do: inventing new things, crafting stories, recognising patterns, following our intuition, collaborating with others, investigating new subjects, making plans, testing theories”.

      This is exactly the kind of language that is driving people psychotic: that there's only 2 modes - recalling and creating. Yes, there are these 2 modes. But there are others too, the most important of which are "resting", "reflecting", and "gestating". Without these others, which we must visit in balance with recalling and creating, we will end up in a rubber room.

  2. Jun 2022
    1. Raphael, you came up with thename of the course—and now the book.

      The origin of the phrase Building a Second Brain.

    2. Tagging for personal knowledge management is a subject unto itself. Whilenot necessary to get started, I’ve written a free bonus chapter on tags you candownload at Buildingasecondbrain.com/bonuschapter.

      Forte's book is a pathway that acts as just another part of his sophisticated sales funnel.

    3. allyou’re doing is drawing on a growing library of Intermediate Packetsstored in your Second Brain.

      Intermediate Packets juxtaposed with Second Brain, it would have been better if he could have given a better analogy than intermediate packets to create some parallelism with Second Brain, alas... lack of creativity?

      Notice the importance he's giving to Intermediate Packets by artificially capitalizing it. An indication of attempt to commoditize and sell "note taking" as a product.

      link to https://hyp.is/OKlVhPBCEeyX96cojNH8rg/www.danah.org/name.html

    4. Intermediate Packets

      example of the creation of a buzz word for something not really quite necessary. It's useful to give names to things, but this is just a synonym for a note, isn't it?

      definitely not as developed as "second brain"

    5. If you ignore that inner voice of intuition, over time it will slowlyquiet down and fade away. If you practice listening to what it is tellingyou, the inner voice will grow stronger. You’ll start to hear it in allkinds of situations. It will guide you in what choices to make andwhich opportunities to pursue. It will warn you away from people andsituations that aren’t right for you. It will speak up and take a standfor your convictions even when you’re afraid.I can’t think of anything more important for your creative life—andyour life in general—than learning to listen to the voice of intuitioninside. It is the source of your imagination, your confidence, and yourspontaneity

      While we have evolved a psychological apparatus that often gives us good "gut feelings" (an actual physical "second brain"), we should listen careful to them, but we should also learn to think about, analyze, and verify these feelings so we don't fall prey to potential cognitive biases.

    1. As Lane put it, it's a Personal Information Storage System (PISS).

      What a zinger! 😜

    2. Tiago's book follows the general method of the commonplace book, but relies more heavily on a folder-based method and places far less emphasis and value on having a solid index. There isn't any real focus on linking ideas other than putting some things together in the same folder. His experience with the history of the space in feels like it only goes back to some early Ryan Holiday blog posts. He erroneously credits Luhmann with inventing the zettelkasten and Anne-Laure Le Cunff created digital gardens. He's already retracted these in sketch errata here: https://www.buildingasecondbrain.com/endnotes.

      I'll give him at least some credit that there is some reasonable evidence that he actually used his system to write his own book, but the number and depth of his references and experience is exceptionally shallow given the number of years he's been in the space, particularly professionally. He also has some interesting anecdotes and examples of various people including and array of artists and writers which aren't frequently mentioned in the note taking space, so I'll give him points for some diversity of players as well. I'm mostly left with the feeling that he wrote the book because of the general adage that "thought leaders in their space should have a published book in their area to have credibility". Whether or not one can call him a thought leader for "re-inventing" something that Rudolphus Agricola and Desiderius Erasmus firmly ensconced into Western culture about 500 years ago is debatable.

      Stylistically, I'd call his prose a bit florid and too often self-help-y. The four letter acronyms become a bit much after a while. It wavers dangerously close to those who are prone to the sirens' call of the #ProductivityPorn space.

      If you've read a handful of the big articles in the note taking, tools for thought, digital gardens, zettelkasten space, Ahren's book, or regularly keep up with r/antinet or r/Zettelkasten, chances are that you'll be sorely disappointed and not find much insight. If you have friends that don't need the horsepower of Ahrens or zettelkasten, then it might be a reasonable substitute, but then it could have been half the length for the reader.

    1. Note Sharers aka Digital Gardeners aka Second Brainers

      Example of a writer who wholly conflates "note sharers" with "digital gardners" and the "second brain" crowd.

      It's likely that these words and terminology have all become conflated due to ambiguous use.

    1. build a second brain

      Example of someone considering Building a Second Brain its "own system" rather than something from the commonplace book tradition.

  3. May 2022
    1. There are four essential capabilities that we can rely on a SecondBrain to perform for us:1. Making our ideas concrete.2. Revealing new associations between ideas.3. Incubating our ideas over time.4. Sharpening our unique perspectives.

      Does the system really do each of these? Writing things down for our future selves is the thing that makes ideas concrete, not the system itself. Most notebooks don't reveal new associations, we actively have to do that ourselves via memory or through active search and linking within the system itself. The system may help, but it doesn't automatically create associations nor reveal them. By keeping our ideas in one place they do incubate to some extent, but isn't the real incubation taking place in a diffuse way in our minds to come out later?

    2. your Second Brain is a privateknowledge collection designed to serve a lifetime of learning andgrowth, not just a single use case

      Based on Tiago Forte's definition of a second brain the primary distinction from a commonplace book is solely that it is digital.

      Note here that he explicitly defines a second brain as being private. Historically commonplace books were private affairs though there are examples of them being shared from person to person as well as examples that have been printed.

    3. This digital commonplace book is what I call a Second Brain

      Tiago Forte directly equates a "digital commonplace book" with his concept of a "Second Brain" in his book Building a Second Brain.


      Why create a new "marketing term" for something that should literally be commonplace!

    4. Now, this eye-opening and accessible guide shows how you caneasily create your own personal system for knowledge management,otherwise known as a Second Brain.

      Marketing speech to convert an old idea (commonplacing) into a new siloed service one needs to pay for.

    5. Forte, Tiago. Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential. Atria Books, 2022. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Building-a-Second-Brain/Tiago-Forte/9781982167387.

  4. Apr 2022
    1. I previously shared Ivo Velitchkov’s 5-part series in Letter XXXII where he described in more detail his approach, and how he developed RIO (Roam Internal Ontology). Now, he has released the two ontologies he's developed (RIO and ROCO - ROam Core Ontology)

      It really kills me to see these types of jargon and acronyms popping up in the technology space around note taking. What do these really mean? Why should the average user care? It all feels like the sort of careless marketing and buzzwords like "second brain" or "MOC" (maps of content).

  5. Mar 2022
    1. If you don't like Zettlekasten (I have my "own" version of Zettlekasten that I use so it's not 100% the original, but it's very heavily based on it - if you hate Zettlekasten this really isn't going to work). 

      https://elizabethfilips.podia.com/validation-cohort-muse

      Elizabeth Filips is running a validation cohort for a course (presumably called MUSE, the marketing name for her "system" as well) on how to take notes and build a zettelkasten (or a second brain—there's evidence that she's taken Tiago Forte's course). She's got some indications that she's using a zettelkasten-like method for creation, but her burgeoning empire also appears to be firmly centered in the productivity porn space. I'm curious how she views her Muse system being different from a zettelkasten?

      She's got an incredibly focused sales funnel web presence here.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnFHwl2Dbr0

      • System should be as frictionless as possible.
      • Capture in one location. (She says as few as possible, but this is too wishy-washy: she's got a "Readwise page" and a "Links page".)
      • There needs to be levels of processing.
        • Split out based on future value.
      • Everything has resources. How to capture metadata and be able to cite it?

      Everything needs to have a "Why"? What is the context for capturing? What is the reason? How will it be used in the future? Why was it interesting?

      She also describes how she collects notes in various formats (books, online articles, Kindle, Twitter, etc.) It primarily involves using Notion along with a variety of other sub-applications including Instapaper for sharing to Notion.

      Dramatically missing from this presentation is the answer to the question "why" collect all this stuff? How is she using it in the future? What is the overall value? She touches on writing the why for herself as she's taking notes, but I get the impression that she's not actively practicing what she preaches, and I suspect that many don't. This leaves me with the impression that she's collecting with no end goal, which for many may be fine.

      She's got a gaping hole in the processing section which likely needs a video unto itself and which would probably go a long way toward answer the "why" question above.

      In looking at her other videos, I see she's using the phrase "second brain" and words like productivity. There seems to be a high level of disconnect between those using "second brain" and the "why do this?" question other than the simple idea of "productivity" which seems to be a false trap that gets people into the mindset of being a collector for collections' sake.


      Almost hilariously she's got videos with titles like: - "I'm a productivity guru and I hate it." - "Productivity YouTube is brainwashing you"


      She's titled the final portion of the video "Outro" which is actually displayed on the video UI. This might be useful for production purposes but should be changed or omitted for actual consumption.


      The title "How I Remember Everything I Read" is pure clickbait here. It's more aptly titled, "How I Take and Save Notes". Where's the how I use this after? or how I review over it all to actually remember it/memorize it? There's nothing here to support this end of things which is the promise given in the title.

  6. Feb 2022
    1. The Workflow: How to Use the Zettelkasten Method

      The entire basis and process of the Zettelkasten method. - Capture - Elaborate - Connect

  7. Jan 2022
    1. I go through my old posts every day. I know that much – most? – of them are not for the ages. But some of them are good. Some, I think, are great. They define who I am. They're my outboard brain.

      Cory Doctorow calls his blog and its archives his "outboard brain".

  8. Dec 2021
    1. As a result of extensive work with this technique a kind of secondary memory will arise, an alter ego with who we can constantly communicate.

      I want to look at the original German for this sentence, particularly with respect to the translation of the phrase "secondary memory". Is the translation semantic or literal? Might the original German have been a more literal "second brain"?

      Compare this to the one or two other examples of this sort of translation from the German.

    1. In a short academic dissertation on the art of excerpts, Andreas Stübel described the card index as a ‘secondary and subsidiary memory’ (‘memoria secundaria and subsidiaria’), summing up in just three words the dilemma scholars had been struggling with for two centuries with respect to the use of commonplace books.28 As far as I know, Stübel was the first among contem-poraries to speak of secondary memory.

      28 Andreas M. Stübel, Exercitatio academica de excerptis adornandis (Leipzig, 1684), 33

      Andreas M. Stübel, in Exercitatio academica de excerptis adornandis (Leipzig, 1684), becomes the first to of many to speak about the idea of "secondary memory".

      I like this idea better than Tiago Forte's marketing term "second brain."

    2. In fact, the methodical use of notebooks changed the relationship between natural memory and artificial memory, although contemporaries did not immediately realize it. Historical research supports the idea that what was once perceived as a memory aid was now used as secondary memory.18

      During the 16th century there was a transition in educational centers from using the natural and artificial memories to the methodical use of notebooks and commonplace books as a secondary memory saved by means of writing.

      This allows people in some sense to "forget" what they've read and learned and be surprised by it again later. They allow themselves to create liminal memories which may be refreshed and brought to the center later. Perhaps there is also some benefit in this liminal memory for allowing ideas to steep on the periphery before using them. Perhaps combinatorial creativity happens unconsciously?

      Cross reference: learning research by Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski.

  9. Nov 2021
    1. When we look at the Zettelkasten, it looks quite inconspicuous and small and doesn't give away the secret. The outer appearance is trivial, so what is it then that made Luhmann refer to it as his second brain.

      the translation for "second brain" is direct? Does he provide a source for where this was recorded? It's the first time I've heard the phrase outside of Tiago Forte's use.

  10. Sep 2021
  11. Jul 2021
    1. This bucket’s for you and for you alone. It’s your idiosyncratic partner in knowledge work. Your second brain. Your extended memory and your better self.

      Note the use here of "second brain" written in 2013 before Tiago Forte's use of the idea.