Zettelkasten Forum

Processing: Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte

edited November 23 in Your Current Projects

Hi Zettlers,

I am currently processing Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte on my research days. I figured that some of the intermediary thoughts might be of interest to you.

But you can ask me anything or use this thread to debate this book if you like. This thread is part of the wild west. (but please keep your clothes on and refrain from any behavior that might cause the neighbors to call the police)

I am a Zettler


  • edited November 23

    CODE is the workflow of his system. This is how CODE can be mapped to the value creation steps of the ZKM:

    There is a heavy emphasis on excerpts and what my professors back in university called "use the source and don't read it". After the first reading, the workflow is very similar to what was teached to me in History.

    Post edited by Sascha on

    I am a Zettler

  • Updated the image to remove the Germanlish.

    I am a Zettler

  • Re: Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte

    A good read I thought. See also Cal Newport's 'CCC' (Capture/Configure/Control)...

  • @Mike_Sanders Thanks a lot. This is more useful then you might expect since each additional model will strengthen my meta-model on workflow for the creator. (See the later part of this post on what this is)

    These are the notes that I put on cmd+2 (via saved search):

    202211231246 forte2022. A note dedicated to the book. This is not a "literature note" since I mostly write about the book and not capture content of the book itself.

    202211231105 Ü2 Tiago Fortes PARA. My note for his system. I like PARA way more than BASB (Building a Second Brain). But it will contain not just the system but also the the workflow (CODE) and everything I need to create a complete model on Tiago's approach.

    202205171855 ZKM for [ANONYMISED]. I use a user-case to develop a prototype of a specification of the ZKM. The goal of the note is to provide the specification for one use-case first and then will be rebuild to a more generalised specification.

    202203111050 Ü4 My self-organization. I use myself as a user-case as food for the more generalised Getting Things Created.

    201709210920 Ü1 Self-Organization. My general note on Self-Organisation. I don't like the term self-management. It mostly is based on Getting Things Done.

    201708260940 Ü2 Getting Things Created. Inspired by Getting Things Written. I created a rough spine back in 2017. Now, I pick it up. It will be finalised during my demonstration of how the ZKM can be used more publishing-centered, I think.

    This are my goal statements for BASB as my current object of research:

    • An enrichment of GTC
    • A correct representation of PARA
    • An improvement of my variation of GTD
    • My personal self-organization
    • The modification of the ZKM for "Fast Publishers"

    I am a Zettler

  • This is how the full research project looks like in my project management:

    • "Ergebnis" = Result
    • "Zusatzmaterial" = Additional material

    The desired outcomes and the publishable material (like Getting Things Created) will be a byproduct of me using my Zettelkasten as an Integrated Thinking Environment. So, to achieve the desired outcome I need very little in terms of organisational complexity. It is just me, my Zettelkasten and the thinking in written form.

    I am a Zettler

  • Re: PARA...

    I like PARA too, makes sense in my thinking.

    Re: These are the notes that I put on cmd+2 (via saved search)...

    Bravo Sascha, Veni, vidi, vici! Outstanding work.

    Soon you'll be building essays, papers, articles with a simple mouse-click or two. Keep up the good work. So much knowledge in this forum, thanks to everyone for the posts.

  • @Mike_Sanders said:
    Soon you'll be building essays, papers, articles with a simple mouse-click or two. Keep up the good work. So much knowledge in this forum, thanks to everyone for the posts.

    Some day. :)

    Building a Second Brain relates to me in a similar way that Deep Work related to me. It cannot think of a single idea that is unique or new that I learned. But it kind of resonates with me and invokes some way of change in my approach to work. The deep processing of Deep Work led to complete Deep Work Days. Building a Second Brain is leading to some restructuring of my overall work away from foundational research to a more project-centered way.

    I am a Zettler

  • My current hypothesis is that PARA is not a second brain in a way that the Zettelkasten is or can be. It is logical form of storage and retrieval. It is a system of knowledge management.

    This is affirmed by the main emotional driver of its promise: The reduction of information overload related anxiety reduction.

    I am a Zettler

  • edited December 3

    Hmm yes. Excellent summary. One point I took from Tiago's book was progressive summarization. For instance reading a book...

    1st pass: get the big picture & 'lay of the land', a table of contents is good for this.

    2nd pass: zoom in on the ideas that interest me & highlight passages with a marker.

    3rd pass: annotate marked passages in my own words to help form definitive thoughts.

    But you are very correct, Tiago Forte seeks to build a 2nd brain while Niklas Luhmann actually did...

  • edited 6:14AM

    @Mike_Sanders You could've gotten this line of thought from this article: Barbell Method of Reading :)

    2nd and 3rd pass are what the BMoR entails.

    Saying that PARA is not a second brain doesn't take anything away from the actual benefits of adopting this system. People are using the system and reporting benefits. I am in the process of restructuring the management part of my setup - by taking some principles of PARA into consideration. (Mostly the orientation towards action)

    I just do what I do with any work: I disassemble it and then putting it back together how I think that the parts are fitting better. When I do it with my work, I come to a similar result: I find an improved way. This is not surprising since transmission is one major way how thoughts are improved historically. (I didn't work out this idea. But if you are interested: I will use Evolution in Four Dimensions by Jablonka/Lamb as a starting point to flesh out the mechanisms of this idea)

    The only part I am explicitely disagreeing is the progressive summarisation because it doesn't entail any engagement with the content aside from "what shines to you the most".

    I am a Zettler

Sign In or Register to comment.