What do you do with all the information that you come across every day?
You may come across a good part in an article you read or a tweet that you read. You may come across interesting part within a podcast episode.
What do you actually do to refer or research this in the future? How do you actually recall from your memory?
Your brain can only store so much information.
Most of us skip through. Some save them in a Word document.
Some use note taking apps like Evernote.
I used Evernote at one point and it’s a good app to write your notes and save for future.
None of these are intuitive or automated.
After experimenting for more than 3 years and using various apps, I found the perfect combination which is easy to use.
I call this:
- 4 capture areas
- 2 integrate apps
- 2 store apps
In this post, you will learn the systems that I use to build second brain.
Under this system, I use different software:
In this post, you will learn how to set up your second brain in less than 9 minutes.
A second brain is an interconnected database where you store IDEAS.
And IDEAS interlink to relevant other information, like a human brain.
There are 3 layers to my Second Brain:
There are 4 areas where I consume content online.
This is where I capture ideas. Let’s call these apps my CAPTURE layer.
I use READWISE to integrate the CAPTURE layer from different sources.
Readwise is the system where my content gets sorted and analyzed.
Readwise is my INTEGRATE layer.
And I use OBSIDIAN to STORE my Second Brain.
It’s my STORE layer where I save / store all the information.
I use Obsidian to refer, review, research.
So, CAPTURE – INTEGRATE – STORE
PART 1: CAPTURE LAYER
Capturing the first step in building your solid second brain.
Like I mentioned earlier, you may come across an interesting tweet, a quote, a podcast segment. How do you capture these ideas, thoughts, stories?
I consume content through following 4 ways:
- online articles, emails, reddit
1. Capture Online Articles, Emails
When I’ve done that, the article is sent to my Instapaper Account. From here, when I visit Instapaper, I review the articles.
The same thing works for emails. Sometimes I receive an interesting email.
Instapaper has a feature which provides you with an email address and you can forward emails to this email and these emails will be stored in your Instapaper account.
Same thing goes for Reddit content.
You can share content from Reddit to your Instapaper through Reddit share option.
To enable saving to Instapaper from your smartphone, install Instapaper app.
How to configure Instapaper?
- Sign up for Instapaper Account
- Add Instapaper Chrome Extesion
- Note Instapaper email from your Instapaper settings
- Install Instapaper mobile app and login to your account
- Integrate Instapaper to Readwise
2. Capture Twitter content
Twitter has become my primary source of information and interesting tweets.
And twitter has become my primary source for knowledge capture.
With Readwise integration to Twitter, life has become easy.
How to send tweets from Twitter to Readwise:
Whenever you find an interesting tweet,
- go to the share option
- Select Share via DM
- Select (search) Readwise
What you are doing here is that you are sharing the tweet via DM (Direct Message) to Readwise.
At Readwise end, you will need to Connect Twitter as a connection.
That’s it. All the tweets you share with Readwise are in your Readwise account.
This makes my life easier as it’s easy to search with these tags in Obsidian.
3. Capturing Podcasts
I use Snipd as my Podcast listening app. And I listen to Podcasts on a daily basis.
I listen to investing, bitcoin related podcasts.
Before you capture the podcasts, you will need to connect Snipd with Readwise. It’s easy.
- Go to your Snipd settings,
- Export and Sync.
- Enter Readwise Access token (which you will find in Readwise settings)
Let’s say, you found something that resonated with you. Click on the Create Snip button.
If you use Air Pods, you will double click on the earphone to send the section to Snipd.
Your ‘snip’ will be sent to Readwise.
4. Capturing Books from Kindle
Kindle is my primary way to consume books.
I also prefer reading physical books. I’m doing less of this as on ramp to knowledge management becomes challenging. But I still continue reading my favorite paperback books.
- Configure your Readwise account to import Kindly highlights
- And when you find an interesting sentence, passage, highlight it.
- It will be sent to Readwise.
PART 2: INTEGRATION LAYER
I integrate all my content using Readwise. Instapaper helps in pushing content to Readwise. For Twitter and Snipd, I linked Readwise directly.
Configuring Readwise is easy.
- Visit Readwise.io and sign up using the link
- Now you will need to make connections to various apps. (This helps in pulling the information from the apps to Readwise). I have 7 Import Connections and 2 Export Connections
- Based on your settings, Readwise pulls the information from all the apps and stores them.
I have following import connections:
And following are my export connections:
You will see 2 export connections. Obsidian is my preferred destination and as a back up, I store all the information also within Notion.
PART 3: STORE LAYER
All the information Captured and Integrated is stored in Obsidian and Notion.
Within Obsidian, you are able to search for the information with keywords and in graphs.
The search function within Obsidian is fast. (That’s why I prefer Obsidian to Notion)
Obsidian Graph View on one of the best features.
And there you are. With these simple apps, you can build your simple Second Brain.
There are many other ways to build your Second Brain. And I do not like to complicate things.
If you have a better way to build Second Brain, please let me know.
Book on Building Second Brain
- Read Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte to further understand and build your second brain.
FAQs on Build Second Brain:
What is a “second brain”?
A second brain is an interconnected database where you store ideas. These ideas interlink to relevant other information, much like a human brain.
What is the 4-2-2 system?
The 4-2-2 system refers to 4 capture areas, 2 integrate apps, and 2 store apps. This system is used to build a second brain.
What tools are used in this system?
The tools used in this system are Readwise, Instapaper, and Obsidian
What are the three layers to the Second Brain?
The three layers to the Second Brain are Capture, Integrate, and Store.
How can I capture content from different sources like articles, Twitter, Podcasts, and Kindle?
The article provides detailed steps on how to capture content from these sources using various apps and integrations. For instance, you can use the Instapaper Chrome extension to capture online articles and emails, share interesting tweets via DM to Readwise, use Snipd for capturing podcasts, and highlight interesting sentences or passages in Kindle which will be sent to Readwise