A secondary network

Introducing the following article written by Tiago Forte: Building a Second Brain: An Overview in which he describes the following message:

How many brilliant ideas have you had and forgotten? How many insights have you failed to take action on? How much useful advice have you slowly forgotten as the years have passed? We feel a constant pressure to be learning, improving ourselves, and making progress. We spend countless hours every year reading, listening, and watching informational content. And yet, where has all that valuable knowledge gone? Where is it when we need it? Our brain can only store a few thoughts at any one time. Our brain is for having ideas, not storing them. Building A Second Brain is a methodology for saving and systematically reminding us of the ideas, inspirations, insights, and connections we’ve gained through our experience. It expands our memory and our intellect using the modern tools of technology and networks.

Coming across this article, the initial paragraphs provided an insight into a question that I been asking myself for a very long time…

How do I recall everything that I’ve learned?

And, the solution was pretty simple ‘Building a secondary brain‘. This was the point where I realised I was so dependant on my brain for storing every information that I found online and offline. I was wasting my time in a relentless pursuit to accumulate information but never being able to action this knowledge because I would have forgotten it in a matter of days. And, the reason for this was explained by Hermann Ebbinghaus.

Forgetting Curve

Ebbinghaus’s forgetting curve explains that the ability of the brain to retain information decreases over time. He found that the forgetting curve to be exponential because memory loss is rapid within a few days of learning any new information. 


This idea of building a secondary network to act as a digital brain that is used for preserving ideas and turning these ideas into reality. A digital repository for centralising digital information into one network that can be used to store and retain information such as articles, books, quotes or even messages from podcasts.

Having discovered this new concept of a secondary brain, I now religiously practice this through the use of an app called Notion. I’ve previously been using Notion during my postgrad year as a means of note-taking – having realised that the potential of this app can be far greater I now use this to build my own secondary network/brain.

A typical example would be if I am listening to a podcast, and I came across a message that resonates with me, I pause it, write my thoughts and ideas on Notion in an individual folder called ‘Key message’ along with the timestamp. Then I can then use this “potential idea” for creating a future blog post or supplement it with additional ideas. But, the message I wanted to highlight was that it sits in my secondary network. I don’t worry about it or tell myself ‘I wish I’d written that down somewhere’.

As a novice, I’m relatively new to the idea of creating a Second Brain/network. It’s already provided a measurable way to organise my digital and non-digital information. I’ve found that storing new information and more importantly retaining that information to be a relative ease. So, you readers out there give it a shot and share your methods of a secondary network in the comments below.