I scooped this quick read last month after watching a few of this guy's this guy's YouTube videos. It's a quick read, available at the VPL, plus there's loads of internet words (and gorgeous illustrated notes!) on the BASB methodology so I'm not doing a blow-by-blow in this post. Instead, I'm going to expose how my thinking on this topic has shifted since reading the book.

I started the pathway a bit backwards: I was trying to organise my notes in Notion. I had a vague sense of unease around not using Notion or my paper notes very well, and I went down rabbit hole of Notion-Tube and Productivity-Tube – that's where I landed on Forte's stuff.

One of the things that shifted my thinking about note-taking is that notes aren't just for remembering things for the sake thereof (which is what I've been doing), and rather we should be "a giver of notes—you are giving your future self the gift of knowledge that is easy to find and understand." So, it could be useful to have some idea of the purpose while notes are being taken, and keep that purpose in mind as we update and edit the notes – the "distill" part of Forte's method. Notes for a blog post might look different from notes for the purpose of memorising something for an exam or a neat party trick. Notes also change as we refine and distill.

Another bit that stuck with me was Forte's advice to "keep what resonates" and leave the rest. Many avid note takers fall into the trap of "keep everything" trap, and for someone who has a lot of fear of forgetting things, being given permission to leave things behind is huge (lol).

What thing do we end up keeping then? What we want are the bits and blobs that we will put together into something new in the future. The resonance is the feeling of both something that keeps us interested, and also what spurs us to create.

The last bit of insight is that there is no such thing as a perfect second brain. The point isn't to have a perfect hub of all information that I ever touch ever. A sloppy brain/system is fine if that's what I need to create. All we want out of the system are a way to contain the Lego pieces of our brain stuff, and then have a way to find them again when we're building things with the Lego. In fact, in my own system I prefer something a little messy so that I don't get too precious about the form of the note itself and forget that notes aren't the product – the product should be the product.

So after all that... I don't use Notion for my note-taking anymore. It's too neat! (It's also a bit crummy on mobile and can't be used offline.) Notion has being my notes-producing app, where templates, user documentation, rolodex, reference materials and my gaming notes are staying for now. Logseq and its carefree daily journal format is just great. Low stakes and slightly sloppy, but searchable and linkable so that I can put idea blocks together when needed.