title: Revisiting Input - "Building the Second Brain"
date: 2023-05-19 12:00:00
- The Art of Learning
- Random Thoughts
"Too much information is just as much of an obstacle to understanding as too little information. In other words, modern media is obstructing our understanding with overwhelming information."
Before We Begin
I've wanted to write an article about how I manage "information" for a long time. Recently, I saw Randy's tweet on Twitter and read the book "Building the Second Brain." It made me think again about how I should manage information.
The purpose of good information management.
- How to quickly find solutions to problems encountered in work or life.
- How to generate more interesting ideas.
Currently, my main sources of information input are as follows:
- Jike (a Chinese community app)
On Twitter, I follow many great developers, designers, and official accounts of interesting products. From these accounts, I can see their latest perspectives and discover new technologies and products. I use the "Likes" feature as a way to bookmark content that interests me. Additionally, I have created some Lists, which serve as categories. Currently, I have created several categories such as AI, FE, and Web3.
GitHub also has an information stream called "For you," which many people may not use. From here, I can see which repositories the developers I follow have starred, and it also recommends some popular projects. I categorize the repositories I have starred, and you can see them here.
On Youtube, I mainly browse channels I have subscribed to. The content is quite diverse, including technology, lifestyle, and entertainment. I often discover high-quality content on this platform, such as the Web3 Mooc from the University of California, Berkeley, street photographer Kai W, and table tennis blogger Adam, among others.
Jike is a very good Chinese community app. It has good content quality in the fields of Web3 and AI, and there are also some active independent developers and investors. However, the latest technology news is slightly behind Twitter.
The main characteristic of information streams is algorithmic recommendations, but it is a double-edged sword. Sometimes it brings surprises and helps me discover more interesting people. On the other hand, it is easy to suffer from "information overload," as users tend to refresh the app repeatedly.
RSS subscriptions are another way I frequently obtain information. I mainly use it to subscribe to technical blogs, but there are also some other themed sources. For design-related content, I subscribe to Behance and Design-Milk. For technology-related content, I subscribe to 9to5Mac and The Verge. For Web3-related content, I subscribe to Weekly in Ethereum and Foresight News, among others.
Compared to information streams, I believe the advantage of RSS is that the quality of articles is higher because the sources are selected by myself before being added to the reader. I regularly refresh my reader to obtain these high-quality information inputs.
Reading Books and Listening to Podcasts
If I want to learn a subject in a more systematic way, I believe reading books is the best learning method. Of course, it is quite challenging to finish reading a professional book because in most cases, problems can be solved by Googling (or maybe now by directly asking ChatGPT) or reading documentation. Few people would spend a lot of time understanding the ins and outs of a problem.
The advantage of podcasts is that they provide firsthand information. For example, if I want to understand Sam's views on the future development of AI, listening to related podcasts would be more reliable than reading articles summarized by the media.
The CODE method is the core content of the book "Building the Second Brain." Let me talk about my own practices.
- C(Capture) -> Capture resonating information
- O(Organize) -> Organize and categorize
- D(Distill) -> Highlight the essence
- E(Express) -> Showcase the results
For the "Capture" part, it mainly includes the methods mentioned above, and I also use the Web Clipper plugin to clip web articles to my knowledge base on Yuque (a Chinese knowledge sharing platform). Then, I organize them in Yuque by using folders. Additionally, I use Obsidian to write summaries for distillation. Finally, I write blog posts, tweet, and post on Jike to showcase the results.
By completing these steps, I have completed the entire process of the CODE method. Of course, in specific practices, adjustments should be made according to individual circumstances, and everyone uses different tools. For me, I haven't done enough in the D and E steps, which are the "output" part.
By managing information well, when learning new technologies or solving unfamiliar problems, we don't have to start from scratch but build upon existing knowledge bases. In the future, combining large language models with personal knowledge bases may make the process of building the second brain even simpler. However, regardless of the method, what we should pay the most attention to is "where the information we have seen will lead us in the future." I would like to conclude with a quote I read about TypeScript.
As you write TypeScript, you need to think about where you want your contracts to be, and what needs to be done in order to meet them.