Blog Post #023 – Building A Second Brain

Education, Life in General, Podcast

This week I am diving into a concept that I have been playing with for the last few weeks. It is this idea of Building A Second Brain, which is a slightly strange idea to grapple with.

I will attempt to do my best to explain the concept and the benefits of Building A Second Brain. The recent interest on this particular concept came about after our podcast episode with Sana Tabassum who is the creator of the to:scale brand. She chose this very concept as her ‘Thing’ Of The Week and pointed us in the direction of a YouTube video by Ali Abdaal. Ali conducted a live stream with Thiago Forte who is a productivity guru and coined this term, ‘Building A Second Brain.

I have included the link to this YouTube video below:

I have also included a link to the podcast episode with Sana as well:

Rather than me attempting and failing to explain the concept, I’ll let Thiago Forte offer you his description.

“It’s about creating a body of knowledge, a treasure chest of wisdom so you’re learning isn’t just for the moment, it’s so that it lasts months and years – for goals so far in the future you can’t even imagine. It’s about building and enriching that knowledge that you are already consuming. If you’ve spent 5/10 hours reading a book, why not save the best bits.”

Thiago Forte goes on to highlight what he believes the benefits of BASB to be:

  1. Personal Learning – The learning aspect of BASB, it makes sense to codify some of the highlights and consolidate that knowledge.
  2. Content Creation – a space to create a range of content
  3. Personal Organisation – general organisation in all aspects of life and reducing stress

I think the general idea behind note-taking in this format is seeing the information that we come across is ‘a stream that you can dip in and out of and worry less about keeping up and preserving every piece of information that is available.’

The aforementioned ‘treasure chest’ can be created in so many different forms. It could written in notebooks and stored safely but I believe for a more effective system you should utilise one of the many computer programs that aim to compile notes and information in a easily accessible organised way.

My personal choice is Notion, Notion is an all-in-one workspace in which you can write, plan and get organised. It allows you to take notes, create tasks and mange projects. However, there are other software’s out there and it is a case of trial and error until you find the one for you. Other software’s include Evernote and Slack.

When you have your software of choice it is just case of building up this ever growing library of information. Rather than going through the motions when reading a book, take some notes alongside. Synthesise what it is that you are reading and it will allow you to take in more information and think more heavily about what it is you are consuming. I have found that this process is far more thought provoking and I am able to draw more concise conclusions from the subject matter.

Just think in years to come you will be able to go back through your library of information and draw on ideas and thoughts about that obscure book or documentary you watched thanks to a few notes that you made.

I hope that you give Building A Second Brain a go, I can’t see how you will regret the effort. It takes some time at the start but once it becomes a habit then it will become second nature.

Good luck!

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