[IRAB] Tiago Forte - Building a second brain
Note-taking with batteries
I’m starting a new type of posts tagged with
IRAB, standing for “I Read A Book!”. It’s meant to be like goodreads reviews, wih my extra notes about it.
If you remove all the details, this book is about caching1 your life. The idea is to write your thoughts, favorite book excerpts, quotes, and other digital data in a systemized way so you can retrieve it faster when you need it, either because you know exactly where a piece of info is, or by using the search function. To achieve that, the author introduces the CODE method, an acronym for the 4 steps: Capture, Organize, Distill, Express.
In the capturing step, one should capture everything that “resonates”, and the author gives quite a few examples of what could “to resonate” mean - it’s different for everybody. in the organizing step, the main takeaway is that you should organize the digital artifacts for actionability, meaning you don’t store them accoring to type, but in which project you are likely to use it. The distilling step is about simplifying and reducing the notes to reduce the cognitive overhead while searching for the right note.
The expressing step is where it gets interesting. The author states that while doing the projects, you can store Intermediate Packets you create, and then you can sort of recycle those for another project. Cool!
The book is written in a very approachable style. At times, it gets a little too Motivational-Speaker Inspirational-Quotes-Tumblr for my taste (I don’t like that at all, it does nothing for me), but overall it feels genuine. The author mostly writes from his own experiences, but there are a lot of stories of other people his method helped. The stories also seem genuine - it’s not like he claims to have helped a single mother of four baby children to build a house with her own hands, or something extravagant like that. The stories and experiences are mostly tied down to everyday earthlings and widely applyable.
What I like the most about this book is that it’s pretty actionable. It really is not about storytelling, it’s not desperately selling you anything, and it’s not giving you overly generic intructions. On the contrary, the book mostly gives you quite a few examples of what he means by “projects”, “ideas”, “resonance”, and you can choose what of that applies to you (and what doesn’t). This helped me come up with my own interpretations a lot. It’s pretty close to a step-by-step book as it can get, without sarificing the generality and applicability.
Who this book is for?
The author mostly mentions “creators” and creative people, but in a wider sense. You don’t have to be a painter or a musician - it turns out software engineers are also creators!
Why this book?
I decided on this book because I stumbled upon his blog post describing the PARA note organization method. I am a very unorganized person and I’m constantly losing sight of my projects, tasks, promises, ideas, links, quotes, etc. So far, I think this is helping me.
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