I’m incredibly proud to announce we’ve signed our first two non-English foreign publishing deals for my upcoming book Building a Second Brain

The book will be available in China and Taiwan, both with major non-fiction publishers who have worked with many of the top Western authors to have their books translated and widely distributed.

Knowing that my book will be available in China is especially meaningful to me, because believe it or not, the second-biggest slice of my ancestral pie is from China, about 22% (second only to my Brazilian-Italian roots). My mother is from Brazil and my father is from the Philippines, but these countries are both ethnically heterogeneous and full of immigrants from other places. Since we are not indigenous, our blood originally comes from other places.

My dad’s Filipino family is part of the Chinese diaspora. Family lore has it that our ancestors crossed over to Iloilo City in the Philippines from the Cantonese region of Southern mainland China, which includes the Pearl River Basin shared between Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. Our family surname, Lacson, is likely derived from the Chinese “Son Lac” or “sixth son.”

My family is extremely avid about researching our ancestry, and we’ve traced back multiple lines as far back as 1600 in Europe. But my Chinese lineage is the one I know the least about because that history is shrouded in a past my Filipino ancestors didn’t record or pass on (if only they had Second Brains…). 

For some reason, it’s gratifying to think that some distant contemporary relative of mine might pick up this book in a small village alongside the Pearl River, find some value or wisdom in it, and have no idea that there is an ancient bloodline connecting us. Neither of us will ever know, but somehow such mysterious possibilities fill me with a sense of wonder. It feels like a gift I’m giving them from across the centuries. And of course, having my book available there substantially increases the odds that I’ll be visiting some time in the future.

This is a major milestone because it represents the first non-English translations of Building a Second Brain, in Traditional Chinese for Taiwan and Simplified Chinese for China. This means we’ll have the chance to see how the Second Brain idea resonates with people who don’t share as much cultural and historical context. 

Examples like European commonplace books and American 20th-century inventors might resonate less, while examples like the Chinese tradition of biji (roughly translated as “notebook” including anecdotes, quotations, random musings, philological speculations, literary criticism and everything else that the author deems worth recording) might resonate more.

I’ve long wanted to visit Taiwan, the beating heart of the modern chip industry, and I hope this deal will give me an excuse to visit there as well. Asian countries have long been one of the strongest markets for digital organizing – Evernote achieved widespread adoption and there are many Evernote tutorials published in various Asian languages – and I hope to capitalize on that tradition with my book.

We don’t yet have the details of when and where you can purchase the Chinese and Taiwanese editions of my book, but we’ll add them to the buildingasecondbrain.com/pre-order website as soon as we do. We are in active talks with publishers in multiple countries around the world, and are doing everything we can to fulfill our mission of empowering anyone in the world to build a Second Brain. Stay tuned!

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