Second brain

My second brain is a large collection of plain text files that I maintain as a repository for things I would like to retrieve later but don’t want to remember now. The public part of it can be found on this website, my digital garden.

“Second brain” is just a nifty new term for a concept that’s been around for ages: the commonplace book, and later — I fantasize about Wall Street in the 90s with Filofax when I hear this term — personal information management. These days, there’s a lot of talk online about personal knowledge management, but frankly, that term irks me a bit. It feels like people everywhere, including those with little original writing, have coopted the term from academics, and that makes me cringe. Nevertheless, here I am.


It’s important for me to remember Tools don’t matter. The only thing that matters about a tool is that it must allow me to manipulate plain text or Markdown files that exist in a folder that I can move around freely.

Further reading

  • Maggie Appleton’s notes on Tiago Forte’s course are worth a read (and updated to reflect her take on the course a few years later)