Marco's Blog

Here you can find my thoughts

Second Brain

As time goes by, the ability to obtain information from multiple sources, be it books, videos, articles, podcasts, or various courses, becomes easier and easier.

However, accessibility does not mean that this knowledge is actually in the possession of those who have access to it.

One of the most sought-after skills is to have information and to know how to connect it with each other.

Well, this is exactly one of the goals of the second brain.

The second brain is a system that a person sets up to solidify information, categorize it, connect it, and archive it exactly as they want it.

The fundamental idea is to collect many different bricks and then join them together, creating non-trivial connections between topics, facts, and stories that do not seem to have a link.

At the base of the second brain is the idea of building a “copy” of our brain that helps us live better.

How does our brain work?

We have in our heads many small notions, many small gestures, names, facts and dates. Each small piece of information is a block that we can manipulate and manage at our leisure. A second brain performs exactly the same operations that our brain performs, treating each piece of information as a single unit and then joining it with others to form a larger system.

In practice, it is much simpler than it seems.

Here’s how I developed my second brain.

First of all, I chose a tool, Obsidian (there is other similar software but this one is open source), and here are the activities I do on it:

  • Journaling: I keep track of what I do and what happens during the day, almost every day
  • Quote: I annotate the quotes that I like the most and find the most meaningful
  • Notes: notes on topics that interest me, finance, philosophy, programming, economics
  • Summaries: summaries of books or articles
  • Programming: I insert the activities I want to perform with different time frames

What I do is create a new page for each of the activities listed above, then through the use of tags and references, Obsidian connects the dots.

The advantages of this type of activity are many:

  • summarizing and rewriting various topics in your own words brings clarity of thought and solidifies concepts;
  • having all the information in one place, accessible even offline;
  • being able to connect information more easily;
  • having quick access to what I find useful about a topic;
  • ease of sharing ideas, thoughts, and projects.

There are many other tools like Readwise that aim to facilitate the capture of information from articles, epub, kindle, etc., and direct transport to Obsidian. For that, there are hundreds of videos that will help you find the layout that suits you best.

You can also find the concept under the name Knowledge Management System.

This is my second brain. All the dots are pages, tags, references, links, and notes, here you can see how they are interconnected.

By zooming in it is then possible to easily navigate between them.

My Second Brain on Obsidian



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