This post summarizes the major changes made to each successive version of our Building a Second Brain online course. The links lead directly to each resource, but will only be accessible by people enrolled in the course.


Version 7.0 (Jan. 2019)

Version 6.0 (August 2018)

  • New in-depth case study #4Business Development with PKM
  • Moved P.A.R.A. walkthrough videos from main curriculum to Media Library
  • Other improvements to the curriculum and online forum

Version 5.1 (March 2018)

Version 5.0 (Feb. 2018)

  • Added 21-part screenshare walkthrough of P.A.R.A. Setup Checklist (downloading and installing Evernote, importing common media types, and organizing into PARA notebooks and stacks)
  • Created course orientation video showing how to use 3 main course platforms and the online forum categories
  • Added in-video callouts and timestamped links for key resources mentioned in videos (found in a text box below each video)
  • Scheduled ongoing, monthly group calls for all current and past participants
  • Added a coaching program for implementing BASB techniques
  • Edited BrainyBot to include tips and advice for completing the course successfully, and inspirational testimonials from previous participants
  • Created new Slack channel for all current and past participants
  • Transitioned course from live to self-paced format

Version 4.0 (Dec. 2017)

  • “Flipped” the classroom, assigning pre-recorded lectures as homework, and dedicating live sessions to deep dives, examples, discussion, and exercises
  • Created a v1 of PKM Self-Assessment, to determine what level of PKM someone currently operates at
  • Added coaching edition, including 1-on-1 coaching and weekly group coaching
  • Created v1 of Nerve Bundle, a set of pre-formatted templates designed to enable workflow strategies
  • Added new versions of RandomNote for Windows and browser, including new features
  • Reconfigured forum category for Dev Group to identify different versions and collect feedback on them
  • Added new content on compression principles of Progressive Summarization
  • Redesigned takeaway emails to be clearer and more actionable
  • Modified course curriculum to call out action steps explicitly and make modules shorter
  • Created and tested new P.A.R.A. Migration Checklist
  • Adapted and tested new Project List Mindsweep exercise to clearly identify all projects
  • Added new exercises 10-Year Countdown and Inspiration Everywhere
  • Launched and tested v1 of BrainyBot, to provide automated reminders and facilitate engagement
  • Added new project ideas to Post-BASB Next Steps thread

Version 3.0 (Sept. 2017)

  • Worked with Ben Mosior as Course Manager, who took on many backend logistical responsibilities and provided feedback on the forum, among other things
  • Created RandomNote app to randomly surface Evernote notes based on search criteria, and wrote post explaining how and why it works
  • Created Media Library as a central repository of latest version of lecture videos, as well as guest lectures/interviews
  • Started Dev Group, a group of current and past participants interested in designing or developing software around PKM
  • Clarified difference between Get Stuff Done Like a Boss and Building a Second Brain
  • Added implementation sessions, for people to share their screen and get targeted guidance on their PKM setup
  • Created personalized diagnostic reports, highlighting areas for improvement, for each participant based on their survey and exercise responses
  • New in-depth case study, showcasing informal project planning using PKM tools and methods
  • Redesigned online forum to be easier to navigate, added highlighting feature, and made top resources list
  • Completely changed Unit 8: The Big Picture to incorporate Eras of Productivity, Container vs. Stream Thinking, Curation, Scarcity vs. Abundance
  • Added slides to final debrief, summarizing the next steps on the PKM journey and some parting thoughts

Version 2.0 (May 2017)

  • All 8 units were recorded and uploaded separately as shorter, more condensed videos
  • Added new slides to all units, and made edits to existing slides to make the explanations and examples more clear
  • Renamed Unit 7: Making It All Work to P.A.R.A.: Organizing for Insight, and moved it to unit 2 to form the foundation on which everything else is built
  • Switched Unit 3: Maximizing Return on Attention and Unit 4: Progressive Summarization, to give the practical method first, followed by the underlying principles and theory
  • Combined Unit 5: The Design of Discoverability and Unit 6: Workflow & Retrieval into a new Unit 6: Just-In-Time Project Management
  • Added more workflow strategies to the new unit 6, and organized them according to a “diagnosis”of the problem or situation in which they are most useful
  • Introduced new final project: completing a PKM Workflow Canvas to summarize what you’ve learned in the course, as a springboard for further improvement
  • Added a new Unit 7: PKM Workflow Canvas, introducing and explaining how the canvas works
  • Added a PKM Case Study showing how the new techniques are used in a real project
  • New Unit 8: The Big Picture

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