• Building a Second Brain

  • A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential
  • By: Tiago Forte
  • Narrated by: André Santana, Tiago Forte
  • Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (173 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A revolutionary approach to enhancing productivity, creating flow, and vastly increasing your ability to capture, remember, and benefit from the unprecedented amount of information all around us.

For the first time in history, we have instantaneous access to the world’s knowledge. There has never been a better time to learn, to contribute, and to improve ourselves. Yet, rather than feeling empowered, we are often left feeling overwhelmed by this constant influx of information. The very knowledge that was supposed to set us free has instead led to the paralyzing stress of believing we’ll never know or remember enough.

Now, this eye-opening and accessible guide shows how you can easily create your own personal system for knowledge management, otherwise known as a Second Brain. As a trusted and organized digital repository of your most valued ideas, notes, and creative work synced across all your devices and platforms, a Second Brain gives you the confidence to tackle your most important projects and ambitious goals. 

Discover the full potential of your ideas and translate what you know into more powerful, more meaningful improvements in your work and life by Building a Second Brain.

©2022 Tiago Forte. All rights reserved. (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Building a Second Brain

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unbalanced signal to noise ratio

I almost did it. I almost submitted my snarky little review and let it stand. But no. That doesn't make sense if I actually care at all if the author ever reads reviews. So. Let's try this again.

Narration is good. Let's get that out of the way. It's performed well and seems to fit the writing style very well. And the writing style itself is very serviceable. Decent blend of writerly prose with a conversational tone.

Problem is those things are (or should be) very secondary to the point of the book. And that relationship is reversed here. For every nugget of actionable content it is surrounded by 1000 words of noise. It's performed well but it's still noise. It seems that this book is more a glimpse into the author's second brain than than the distillation and reformulation of the ideas and experiences from his second brain.

Alternatives? How to Take Smart Notes by Sonke Ahrens. Or go read Tiago's post on Forte Labs. It's a more condensed and actionable version of ideas buried in this book. The post is wordier than it should be at an estimated 28 minute read but it does stay more on course with the topic. It actually seems like the book is an expanded version of the post. But the expansion was more breadth than depth.

And now for a TINY bit of speculation. The author likes to write. He wanted to write a book. He's genuinely amazed by the path and story of his own life. He was and remains truly awe-struck by the seemingly limitless power of building a second brain. And he wanted to write a book. Fair enough. So he combined all of those things into this book. And it didn't deliver what this book is promising as well as it could. Atomic Habits does this well. Infusing it with the personal but in a way that services the point of the book. Not the other way around.

10 people found this helpful

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Great intro to successful digital note taking.

If you've ever struggled to take meaning full and effective notes, or just organize your thoughts, then this is the book for you.

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Could have been a tweet

If you have the basic digital note taking an organizational skills this book will not be helpful. If you’re older or completely and text savvy you might gain some thing.

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I thought I knew it all

Going in, I was sceptical whether it was going to bring me anything new. I already captured most of what I came across, did reviews, used my vault to write essays and study for exams... But digging in, this book had much to offer even for me and solved many problems I did not yet realise I had! It pretty much transformed my guiding principles behind how to take notes and it wasn't just "do more", in fact, this book helped me eliminate work that was unlikely to bear fruits, replaced it with very goal driven approach to taking notes.

Just the advice to "keep track of unsolved questions while consuming content and searching for unlikely solutions" was well worth the listen. I am much more intentional about my note-taking and feel like I am progressing with my goals, much more than before.

Highly recommended even for people who think they have it "all figured out". Also, the writing shows that the author does what he preaches. To the point, well said, engaging and highly practical.

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Highly Recommend!! Enjoyable Narration



Fantastic presentation of a stellar topic
The second brain concept is one of those philosophies that come along and make an impact on anyone who is willing to invest a little time to learn and practice. It can be applied to the most advanced research or the simplest project. Your field, your walk of life, your experience level does not matter. It is a concept that you build to suit your needs and use case. The book is laid out smartly with easy to understand steps to be successful. Thiago Forte brings his words to life with useful tips, anecdotes, and insightful steps to begin. It is an easy read that is not about sounding academic but practical language to teach you his methods of development. This is one of those books you read 2 or 3 times and discover something new as your perceptions grow.

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I'll re-review in a year

The energy and optimism of this book is great. System seen doable. I hope my review on a year show that it affected my positively.

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Great intro to lifelong PKM

I had a head start on this but I think it's an amazing resource for anyone who wants to organize notes beyond a single project, to get compounding gains over time.

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Great introduction to PARA and Second Brain

While I think that this would be a good run-through for anyone, including those who are already familiar with PARA and the Second Brain principle, this book is especially great as an introduction. I believe that the concept described in this book is nothing short of revolutionary, both for personal productivity, but also for people such as myself who run a ton of projects that are in vastly different sectors/focus areas.

Would love to see it continue to be developed and be part of the community!

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MUST READ for knowledge workers & the digital age!

Tiago is a true pioneer and innovator of our time!

Building a second brain is MUST READ for knowledge workers, students, continuous learners, and digital creators!

As someone who has been in the Personal Knowledge Management space since high school and has followed Tiago for a long time, I found MANY new and valuable lessons in this book.

I manage over 5 newsletters and it can be easy to spend so much time researching instead of creating. BASB is helping me get this in check and improve my organizational strategy! 😁💪🏾

p.s. the bonus chapter was such a nice addition for us figuring out how to improve how we store and organize bookmarks & assets.