This article details the extra features found in the Premium Edition of my online course Building a Second Brain.

The Standard Edition of the course contains “everything you need to build a second brain.” With an emphasis on “need.” As you can imagine, I’ve accumulated such a large volume of material over the years that I have to be careful not to overload novice students with too many concepts, metaphors, examples, instructions, models, etc.

The goal of the Standard Edition is therefore to give people just enough content and the right exercises to launch them on the path of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). But once they’ve started on that path, and only if they want to go further, the Premium Edition offers a wealth of additional resources, interviews, advanced tutorials, note templates, and in-depth Praxis articles to help them move even faster and farther.

The Premium Edition includes the following features for an additional $250 USD ($200 if purchased upfront):

  • 5 exclusive interviews
  • 5 advanced tutorials
  • The “Nerve Bundle” of pre-formatted note templates
  • 3-month subscription to the Praxis blog

5 Exclusive Interviews

In the main curriculum of the course, I present to you my “official” second brain system using Evernote. By adopting my recommendations wholesale, at least on a trial basis, you can get up and running quickly. But once you are familiar with my approach, it can be very helpful to see how other people do PKM. Especially people who are well-known for their effective use of knowledge.

These in-depth interviews explore how Tiago and other experts use their second brains to execute projects, create content, and automate business processes in the real world. You’ll see a wide variety of approaches to this fundamental practice, some of which don’t use Evernote, or even any software at all.

Interviews include:

The Origins of Personal Knowledge Management, with Dr. Jason Frand (58:27): Dr. Frand is a former Professor and Director of the Anderson Computing & Information Services Center at UCLA. His paper launched PKM into the mainstream of business computing, and in this interview we discuss what drove him to formulate PKM as a distinct practice.

Creating Productivity Rituals, with Renee Fishman (74:55): Renee is a gymnast, blogger, and coach who teaches high performers how to create not just productive habits, but “rituals” that provide structure and meaning to everyday life. In this interview, we discuss ways of making PKM practices a natural part of knowledge work.

Interview and Discussion with Venkatesh Rao, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ribbonfarm (75:43): Venkatesh Rao is a leading thinker and blogger on innovation, the philosophy of technology, business strategy, and “refactoring,” a term he popularized that refers to seeing things differently. His writing on the Ribbonfarm blog has been the single greatest influence on my ideas and writing, and in this interview we talk about how he has sustained his creative output after more than a decade of long-form blogging.

Experience Design and Creative Flow, with Ting Kelly (68:19): Ting is an experience designer and entrepreneur who creates spaces, experiences, and products that bring more flow to work, in all its forms. In this interview, she shares her recommendations for enhancing the experience of flow through everything from specific tools, to morning rituals, to advanced calendaring, to food.

Interview and Discussion with Taylor Pearson (85:57): Taylor Pearson is an author, coach, and entrepreneur who wrote the best-selling book The End of Jobs. In this interview Taylor explains how he tracks and manages the information he consumes, both for short-term writing on his blog and for larger book projects.

5 Advanced Tutorials

Taking BASB is like being airdropped onto an exotic landscape on an alien planet. You have enough supplies and knowledge to survive, but you also have the option of striking out and exploring the terrain

Do you head toward the Mountains of Content Creation, to scale its intimidating, but exhilarating peaks? Do you turn toward the Desert of Academic Research to sift through the sands for the diamond in the rough? Or maybe you hike along the beautiful Blog Coast, and dive into the wealth of insights on popular blogs.

Each of these advanced tutorials is like a map for the aspect of building a second brain that you want to explore further, giving you a pathway to master whichever one is most important to your work or life.


Advanced tutorials include:

Becoming an Evernote Power User, with Stacey Harmon (84:12): Stacey Harmon is one of the world’s foremost experts on Evernote and how to use it as a centralized organizational tool for your entire life. Her course Radical Productivity with Evernote teaches people how to become Evernote “power users,” and in this tutorial she presents a summarized version of her method.

Creative Problem Solving and Visual Thinking, with Chuck Frey (77:16): Chuck Frey is a recognized expert on mind mapping, visual thinking, and creative problem-solving, which he writes about on his blog, the Mind Mapping Software Blog, and in ebooks. In this tutorial, Chuck takes us through his top recommendations on software and techniques for creative thinking using technology.

Planning and Creating Note Templates with Evernote, with Stacey Harmon and Tiago Forte (109:35): Originally delivered as a special one-time webinar, this tutorial walks through the process of identifying, formulating, designing, creating, and using note templates in Evernote. This is one of the most powerful methods for saving time and effort, standardizing repeatable tasks, and helping you spend more time on the work that matters.

Practical Evernote, with Frank Gerber (87:55) Frank Gerber is an entrepreneur, writer, consultant, and startup advisor who has used Evernote in all aspects of his business and life. In this tutorial, he walks us through his Evernote setup and how he uses the program to prototype new business processes. He also talks about how a notebook he initially used to manage rental properties turned into a whole new business, called Centriq.

The Secrets of Bundles, with Tiago Forte (57:25): In this tutorial, I walk you through my process for taking advantage of “content bundles” – any large volume of digital content you gain access to as part of an online course, seminar, database, or limited time promotion. I show you how to use customized templates I’ve designed over the years to quickly summarize the purpose of a piece of content, so you can save it for future use instead of trying to consume it immediately.

The Nerve Bundle Note Templates

All of the techniques taught in BASB rely only on the simplest features of digital note-taking apps: lists, outlines, formatted text, and links.

But it can be helpful to use pre-formatted templates designed specifically for the techniques I teach. They ensure you’re automatically following my guidelines, help you avoid common pitfalls, and allow you to start your PKM practice on a solid foundation.

The Nerve Bundle is a shared Evernote notebook that includes customized templates for each of the 16 Workflow Strategies taught in the course:

Using any one of these strategies is as simple as duplicating a note and filling in the details. Evernote now includes a built-in feature that allows you to save templates in your own template library, which you can pull from any time you create a new note.

Each note template also contains a link to the full explanation of that Workflow Strategy on the online forum, with numerous examples from Tiago and others. While these templates are made for Evernote, you can easily copy and paste them to the platform of your choice.

You’ll also have access to future updates to the Nerve Bundle, which will be published to the same notebook and synced automatically.

3-Month Praxis Subscription

After completing the course, you’ll have a new awareness of the important questions and frontiers in the world of Personal Knowledge Management. If you’d like some help keeping abreast of recent trends, powerful new ideas, alternative approaches, and other examples of PKM in action, my members-only blog Praxis is a great place to start.


Each month, I send out 1-3 in-depth posts on a wide variety of topics related to productivity, effectiveness, and learning. These include everything from summaries of influential books, case studies of second brains in the wild, new conceptual models that shed light on modern work, and personal reflections and experiences of my own.

Here’s a sample of the members-only posts published over the past year. Clicking a story will show you a short preview of the post.

In addition to exclusive content, I also facilitate a 60-minute “Town Hall” once per month. Conducted live using the Zoom videoconference software, these can include interviews of influential experts, Q&A sessions on recent articles, or special presentations of new material I’m developing. All Town Halls are recorded and published on the blog for anyone who can’t make it live.

If you want to continue being part of the Praxis community after 3 months, you can subscribe for $10 per month or $100 per year.

Lifetime access

I don’t advertise this because I want you to purchase the Premium Edition on its own merits, but you’ll also get lifetime access to future updates and additions. I am constantly creating new content and filming new videos, and I will periodically release them in the Premium Edition curriculum.

You can purchase the Premium Edition here if you haven’t yet enrolled in Building a Second Brain. Or if you already have, send $250 via Paypal to tiago@fortelabs.co and I will enroll you manually within 48 hours.


Subscribe to Praxis, our members-only blog exploring the future of productivity, for just $10/month. Or follow us for free content via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.