These are participant testimonials for my online bootcamp on personal knowledge management, Building A Second Brain.
Emphasis in bold is mine:
“I absolutely LOVED the course. It’s changed the way I think. You have a gift of articulating thoughts & ideas…Your slides and visuals are amazing. The diagrams communicate the ideas and mental models at a totally different level. I’m a very visual person, and the visuals have been an invaluable aid in the learning. My biggest takeaways are the mental models that you shared. It’s changed the way I look at the world. It’s given me a completely different perspective on absorbing information, learning and creating. I now give more importance to information throughput and creating. My views on Deep Work have changed. I often got anxious on the seemingly infinite information out there. And I used to deal with it by shutting off sources of information. But with the mental model of stream thinking, I’m now less anxious about information overload. As long as I’m chasing what excites me and creating, the rest will fall in place.”
— Mohammed Ali Vakil, GTD Certified Coach and Master Trainer
“My second brain is one of the best resources I have because it gives me the freedom to easily consume information, organize it, and create a blog post…It taught me a fantastic way to simultaneously learn more, and archive information to be able to fully focus on one thing, all while keeping the information I have already collected readily available.”
– Mia Lang
“I’ve got some big ambitious goals….I feel like I’ve got the tools to be able to take on longer-term projects and have them persist over a long period of time, and allow for that incubation period, and allow for serendipity, allow for ideas to marinate, allow different perspective… opening up that wheel and making progress every single day, has been very fulfilling and really just a life-changer as far as overall happiness goes.”
— Justin Finkelstein, Internal auditor
“‘Building a Second Brain’ was just the class I was looking for to help me take my work in education philanthropy to the next level. Not only did I learn how to build a system to organize my sources and notes, but I also learned a technique to process this information to keep it alive. Now I know how to add value by growing the resources I collect into actionable ideas to take back out into the field.”
— Christine Walther Tripp, Non-profit executive director
“BASB is the answer to information and project overwhelm. You aren’t here to ‘do tasks’ – you are here to create and accomplish. Most productivity systems are about better managing your to-do list which predictably lend themselves to expediting the easy over the important– i.e. send email over, write book. But at best, that only serves us to make us more and more efficient at lower value work, if we can even call it that. BASB is about making the information you consume your own so you can better do what only you can do: create. It’s something you might not even fully realize you want or should do until you see it. A true gamechanger. If I could put it more simply, BASB is NOT an ‘organization’ system, it’s a THINKING system.”
— Noah Goldman, consultant, coach and entrepreneur
“From my heart… now, with the BASB framework as a foundation, I approach my day with a playing mindset rather than my former dreading the coming slog mindset, I take joy in the constant rain of ideas. They sprout rather than wither because they have a place where they can wait and even grow until I need them. AND I can find them! Tiago has provided us a physical process that doesn’t suck the life out of our imaginative trips. Obvious as it may seem, for disorganized dreaming scheming ME, the ‘news’ of distinguishing WITH SPECIFICITY between a PROJECT and an IDEA was WORLD grounding, freeing, and FUN.”
— Joan Jaeckel, Social Entrepreneur, How We Will, Co-Founder, ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation
“I’ve really loved the course. It’s been a great accelerator for me. It made me feel more deeply connected to my purpose. And at a time when I really needed that. THANK YOU!”
— Thomas Clark Durant, Writer, teacher, coach, and paired leadership evangelist
“BASB proved to be an amazing linkage between true brain dynamics and a system that increases the likelihood of connecting ideas and creative thinking. This new version of BASB builds on the already highly useful system. Connecting ideas in a framework external of the brain is difficult, but this system gets as close to how the brain functions as I’ve ever found.
Learning how the brain connects ideas has been a lifelong quest of mine. I’ve wanted to create an opportunity to connect more ideas by how I organize physical data and ideas outside the brain. Using this system has greatly increased my ability to efficiently connect ideas and bring more creativity to my thinking. This new version is a positive iteration on an already awesome system.”
— Kris Vockler, CEO ICD High Performance Coatings
“The Second Brain is a living database. It is a method for storing and organizing information for reference and re-use…Instead of spending hours researching the same topic months from now, with the Second Brain, all of the information is only seconds away.”
“This is the best investment I’ve made in improving my personal output, productivity, and knowledge management. All of the materials taken together are phenomenal, and I’m really happy with what I’ve learned from the course.”
— Nat Eliason, Founder of Growth Machine, podcaster, blogger
“Building a second brain has given me new skills to gain deeper understanding and make sense of things, in a quicker and more organized way than before.”
— Mikael Suomela, Guitarist and entrepreneur
“Creating this second brain was super fun and I would definitely recommend taking Tiago’s program if you are looking for a new way to boost your productivity and creative breakthroughs…Keeping track of everything in a system that won’t be compromised means you will never forget a thing again!“
– Zeek Beam
“Tiago is a downright master at breaking down the challenges of knowledge work. Ever since college, I fumbled with incorporating something like “Progressive Summarization” into my notes and reviews — I never felt like I could trust my digital systems. With each lesson, Tiago gave me context and terminology to actually understand my problems and design meaningful improvements to my approach. The only reason not to take the course is if you’re allergic to “Aha” moments. Seriously.”
— Michael Skiba, Writer and project manager
“High-value knowledge work requires high-quality knowledge resources: abundant working knowledge capital, a reliable knowledge infrastructure, knowledge liquidity, and a differentiating knowledge value proposition, all coherently leveraged to provide a competitive advantage. Building a Second Brain has transformed my relationship to, and understanding of, personal knowledge capture and retention. The value to my business is significant; the value to me personally — immeasurable.”
— Dawn Williams, Management consultant
“I’m also impressed how much more nuance there is to seemingly simple techniques such as progressive summarization that I thought I understood already. And I love that in the individual coaching sessions I am being challenged to apply the material in real-life situations that I would never have considered.”
— Ellen Koenig, Senior data scientist
“Imagine being able to recall all the really interesting things you’ve ever read, seen and done. How good would that be? Any problem, any piece of creative work boosted with a library of relevant material right there at your fingertips. That’s powerful. Well, this course helps you do just that. It’s fast-paced, expertly taught and full of examples, exercises and discussion that help you organise all the really interesting, useful stuff in your life into a system that allows easy access. I wish I had done it years ago.”
— Jimmy Conway, Organizational improvement consultant
“Just yesterday, I got my first major win from the GSD/BSB project … It was the first time my notes sort of intermingled and made a note of themselves… They helped me shape this new philosophy, this approach that I can take towards life, especially in regard to interpersonal communication… [it] has allowed me to navigate high-friction communication with people and give constructive criticism in a way that didn’t seem like criticism but instead felt good to them and me, and ended in a positive result. What I was thinking about was a pity — the concept of pitying a person or wanting pity for myself. I have a [notebook] that’s called Growth Positioning that’s an area that’s all the things that I want to figure out how to do better. This one addresses feelings of pity. There are people in my life who I love, and I have this sense of pity for them. And I really wanted to explore what that meant, because I could feel that it wasn’t getting me or them anywhere. I started listing things out and writing them in paragraph form, and I could see how they needed to take more of a spreadsheet type of style…”
— Joshua Daniels, student
“Tiago’s course provides profound insight into managing your thoughts using a system. Prior to this course, my system was undefined, but after taking the course I am confident I have the tools to enable me to think bigger, organize my thoughts, and achieve more.”
— Paul Solt, Mobile app developer
“Having an established second brain system has allowed me to become more productive, creative, and valuable than I have ever been before. It has not only allowed me to optimally manage my workflow but has allowed me to become a resource to others. Now, when I’m in conversation with others, or when people have questions on a specific topic, I typically have a note or two in my second brain that I can use to add to the conversation or answer someone’s question.”
“Tiago has completely shifted the way I think about learning in a digital world. After taking the class, I have a reliable system to actually retain, organize, and use the best of what I read rather than just relying on memory alone. Former “needle in a haystack” tasks like topic research and tracking down citations now feel like child’s play. The community is well-curated with thoughtful discussions from a wide variety of professional experience — I learned almost as much from the other participants in the class. Have taken quite a few online courses and Building a Second Brain stands up to any that I’ve done in terms of value delivered per dollar and hour spent.”
— Chris Sparks, Productivity coach
“Honestly, since I got a hang on it — I’ve had quite a few WTF?! cognition melting and folding moments — cognitive reboot…That clarity of delivery obscured the depth of possibilties, which became casual tools-to-play-with after I had crossed the chasm, but were confusion-inducing earlier. The remaining confusion is actually a more sensitive perception, a place of possibility and momentum.”
—Jan-Philipp Hopf, Software engineer
“Being able to catch ideas as they come to you is one of the most important things you could perfect…I will be building my second brain every single day for the rest of my career. This is not a static database but is rather a living, breathing system of information and knowledge management.”
– Hunter Schwinn, student
“This course offers a highly adaptable method for building your own digital brain. What? Yes. How? PARA + constraints. Why? Tiago offers a loose set of standards which you can start extracting long term, compounding interest on all of your work. I’ve never explicitly valued my attention, but I found myself regretting how much I’ve forgotten about the 100s of articles I read monthly — 100s of hours of attention, wasted! At work, I couldn’t easily find materials for my current projects — much less my previous projects. My attention was scattered. Tiago’s system strikes isn’t complicated or strict, which allows you to grow your very own personalized digital cortex. Now I can match my work to my mood and add value to my projects no matter what the week throws at me. In the two months since starting, I’ve produced three blogposts, planned three backpacking trips, decluttered my room, created an enterprise workshop, and got admitted into a developer conference. All using the *SAME* system! I’m living the PARA lifestyle now, and I’m never going back. This way lies not just productivity, but happiness and ease of mind. I started with no experience with GTD. I didn’t understand constraints. I never used a notetaking tool. I used my inbox as my todo list (starred messages). In other words, a total productivity degenerate. Take this course to start to feel agency in the world of infinite information and filter failure!”
— Doug von Kohorn, Startup co-founder
“I cannot overstate how much BASB has helped me. I am an administrator and faculty member in higher-education and am constantly trying to manage multiple streams of input, while managing many projects, staffing, budgets, my own research and ideas, and more. Until I took this course, I was often literally holding my breath, hoping to remember all the moving parts, hoping to not show up and be too unprepared, and dreaming of the day when I would have more time to work on my own projects. Now, within the span of 6 weeks, I feel completely different not just about my projects and creative output but about all of my work. There is a clear delineation for me before and after I started this course. It is just what I needed. And just in time. The class has not only been a lifeline for me, it has been spiritually and emotionally rewarding. I don’t feel defeated or like I’m always playing catch-up. I know what I need to do and I have the tools and ideas to accomplish it well.”
— Wess Daniels, University lecturer, administrator, and author
“Tiago’s course is helping me to recalibrate my personal and professional documentation and note-taking system to focus on the important parts of my digital files to obtain insights and rapid retrieval of existing knowledge. Unloading artifacts of knowledge into a uniform system throughout all my tools and documentation structure is helping me to focus on my most value-adding actions in life, and still be confident to obtain further insights.”
— Sang Hyo Lee, Industrial engineer
“There is nothing on the web that will arm you with the perspectives encompassed within Building a Second Brain. This course tackles the paradigms of note-taking as we know it and will completely shift your ability to leverage the digital world with creative force. With exposure to ideas such as manipulating traditional ‘flow’ states, how to become interruption-proof and getting a grip on your projects — the course is comprehensively transformative.
Tiago assisted in fundamentally changing the way I operate and interact digitally. Personally, the biggest impact was the creation of a literal ‘second brain’ via techniques of capturing, applying multi-layered summarisation and re-packaging information into intermediate packets of work. These ideas have allowed me to triage my consumption into shareable and productive outputs. Coupled with an *extremely valuable community group*, you are free to experiment with ideas, share and implement techniques and get valuable feedback.
Whether it’s a complete mindset shift, a new way to use tools, defining and re-organising your projects, seamlessly capturing information, the ability to use rather than simply consume, or allowing for spontaneous connections — Building a second brain creates a space in your digital life which turns chaos into a bespoke system and approach to the digital landscape which optimises for creativity.”
— Ryan F., Financial analyst
“Tiago has been at the forefront of discovering, and sharing, better ways of interacting with work and life for awhile now. As a participant in his BASB course, I finally learned the practical steps needed to implement his discoveries into my own workflow. The results have been profound, and immediate.”
— Charles Dicks, Transportation startup co-founder
“I want to put in a huge thumbs up for Tiago Forte’s online course Building a Second Brain. On the surface it’s a course about the art of capturing, organizing, and retrieving digital notes — which is perfect for anyone (like myself) who makes their living researching and utilizing large amounts of information — but under the surface it’s a course that will change your life in many profound ways.
Tiago’s class deeply changed my life in at least two ways: I now have a working system for keeping endless emails, overwhelming numbers of research notes, and confusing writing projects clearly organized and searchable; and for the first time in my life I have a clear understanding of what it means to be a “knowledge worker” and “content producer” in a rapidly changing world where those are powerful ways to make a living.
Tiago is a formidable and highly respected thinker whose insights into productivity and creativity are having a huge impact. His class was generous, warm, and personal, and well worth every penny because he shares so much and is completely available for questions and insights that matter to you.”
— David Lukas, Author and naturalist
“It’s easy to fall into the thinking that what Tiago teaches is merely knowledge and concepts. That will be a headfake. Through the knowledge and concepts he provides in both courses, Tiago is also indirectly showing you his philosophy of being an executive or an entrepreneur in this new millennia. It is this philosophy presented as note-taking productivity advice that is truly going to be pivotal for the average executives and entrepreneurs given the upcoming upheavals of massive information and automated workflows.
The saying, “Ideas are cheap. execution is everything” by now is a cliche. While the bottleneck to creative output is no longer the supply of ideas, the bottleneck is not execution either. More precisely, it’s the clarity of thought that has become today’s executives and entrepreneurs bottleneck. Without clarity, you will get mired in bad execution.
Tiago is training us to be warriors not of facts or activity, but warriors of clarity. Through clarity, comes productivity.”
— KimSia Sim, Business Development Director
“I am finding this course extremely beneficial and have actively taken a step back from my current projects to re-evaluate how I pretty much do everything (in a good way!!!). If anything, the course might be moving a little too fast as I am still finding flaws in my own unique approach (based off the teachings) to PKM and trying to address them while we are moving to the next phases of this course. But, I love how all of the information and lectures have remained up so I can always go back if I need help or want to re-visit a certain topic.”
— Chris Mazder, Olympic athlete
“I have to say this has been an amazing immersion and experience. BASB is very dense but worth 10X the investment. Without a doubt. After so many years of GTD practice and intense productivity management, I thought I was a “productivity ninja.” Well, BASB has questioned and challenged all my stuff on productivity and it’s taking it to a next level. PARA is game changing and it’s adding massive clarity and order to my stuff across all the platforms I use. Key differentiators of this program versus others out there that I think provide a competitive advantage, include: the merging of deep philosophical concepts with the pragmatism of the program; incorporation of randomness and serendipity to the process — for example, via random notes; and the merging of divergence and convergence.”
— Jose-Elias Alvarez, CEO at Inspirit
“I’ve tried various knowledge management systems but the ones taught in Building a Second Brain are the only ones that I’ll definitely stick with. It’s simple yet it’s the most effective at helping me generate value from my knowledge repertoire.”
— Wan Muhammad Zulfikri Wan Yusoff, Computer science undergraduate student
“Tiago’s class Building a Second Brain solved many problems that I had been encountering over and over again in my productivity workflow. And it also solved many problems I was not aware of. It has allowed me to create a system that will work easily so that I can spend time on what’s important: creation.”
— Pranav Mutatkar, Healthcare Technology Consultant, Millman
“This course has honestly transformed my life! I’ve always struggled with being organized and keep track of my many obligations and interest, but after taking the course and applying the material learned, I now find myself exciting to wake up in the morning to enjoy this new life this course has helped me put together.”
— Michael Rosidor, Personal Trainer, L.A. Fitness
“The sensation of certainty – that I knew that whatever had peaked my interest, I could capture it so easily – and there was a well thought out framework where it ended up, just waiting to be used towards achieving my dreams – that sensation was a real feeling of having gotten smarter. This in turn gave a noticeable boost in self-confidence and energy towards working on my projects. It’s hard to understate the sense of growth of who I am – of what I’m capable of achieving. It has profoundly altered my outlook on life and what I dare to aspire to.”
— Filip Rankenberg, Body therapist and trainer, Co-founder and former director of ManuVision
I was going to handwrite you a letter but given you are traveling the globe these days, this will have to suffice. I just wanted to share with you that your BASB course was a complete game-changer for me personally. Did it a couple of years ago, I am so busy with life I didn’t get a chance to fully engage in the course or the community, but I do lurk behind the scenes.
I was revamping my Dropbox with the PARA structure, and just saw a note that resurfaced from Randomnote that I am going to take home to my wife – it is a copy of an article that was written about her in the local paper about parenting. She is having a tough day so will take it home to remind her.
Bottom line, keep forging ahead with your book and bringing your thoughts and process to the world. Truly. For YEARS I had searched for an outlet, some way to store, collate, manage, keep track of all of my thoughts, ideas, tabs (!), work and personal notes, and it was all-consuming and overwhelming. BASB was truly a godsend and a life changer for me.
— Rob Wilson, financial services professional
To learn more, check out Building a Second Brain, our online bootcamp on leveraging digital tools to enhance your creativity, productivity, and learning.
Follow us for the latest updates and insights around productivity and Building a Second Brain on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. And if you're ready to start building your Second Brain, get the book and learn the proven method to organize your digital life and unlock your creative potential.