What Is BASB – Build a Second Brain for Yourself

Generally speaking, the second brain is a way to preserve and manage our knowledge, inspiration, and insights through digital note taking software or a note management system that expands our memory and intellect to better manage and use our knowledge and increase productivity. There are many apps that can help you with building you second brain. However, they all have their own pros and cons, which makes it difficult to choose the right one. We look at some of the top apps and discuss which one is best for you.

Why we need BASB - build a second brain

If you are new to this, I will start by explaining it. The second brain is a knowledge management system based on digital notes. In fact he can manage not only knowledge, but even your life, career, and goal achievement. Its full name is the build a second brain (BASB) approach, created by Tiago Forte of Forte Labs.

In short, BASB (let's stick with the acronym) is a framework for capturing and organizing information to create a more reliable " backup brain".

Using the second brain, you can store all the information you encounter on a daily basis in one place, whether it is notes, documents, quotes, images, or videos. Every time you start a new project, you can find useful information quickly. We have provided a detailed explanation of the process of building a second brain in our posted article.

Any note-taking software that allows you to record, organize, and connect your notes is ideal for storing this kind of critical information. Several apps are decent choices, but we'll cover those later.

What App You Will Need for BASB - Building a Second Brain in 2022

We asked people on Reddit about their favorite software, and each person had their own preference. Different apps have different styles. However, some stood out, and we noticed that most youtubers and bloggers chose notion or obsidian as their containers for building a second brain. Since Obisidian boasts an easy-to-use structure and supports markdown by default, the discussion is getting hotter and hotter. Obisidian is of course our first choice.

1. Obsidian

Founded in 2020, Obsidian is a new face in the note-taking world, but definitely has some serious power.

Firstly, Obsidian supports Markdown natively, so if you're familiar with the programming syntax of Markdown notes, Obsidian is a great second brain application. Text, images, and to-do items can be stored in (.MD) files in Obsidian. As expected, you can create internal links at the page, block or header level.

When using Obsidian locally, this note taking software works very well, and the operation is intuitive and the display is appealing.

Additionally, Obsidian has a backlinking feature, a feature not available in any other note taking software, making it easy to automatically link notes together. For example, you can backlink most terms, such as companies, names and key terms. This will increase accidental discoveries and can build connections in several notes instead of leaving each note isolated.

However, it is not the best for cloud backup, so if you are looking for an out-of-the-box cloud backup solution for your notes, it is probably not the best option for you. For cloud syncing, you can use external clouds, such as Dropbox. You may have to pay for some cloud sync features.

As Obsidian's user base continues to grow, we can now seek answers to questions in the community or forum, which is wonderful.

2. Notion

Notion is definitely a star of note taking software, everyone seems to be talking about it. The main benefit of Notion is its flexibility, which makes it ideal for building a second brain.

Flexibility and personalization are two main features of Notion. In Notion, each page consists of a block, which can be customized to perform specific functions.

Would you like a bullet point? Add a block. Need a checkbox? Add a block. Want to create an H1 header? You guessed it, another block.

You can create a Dashboard to manage your life. I use your Dashboard whenever I need to access some notes, decide what video to make next, or write a blog post.

For each project you work on, you can create a separate admin page. The master database page allows you to keep track of the books you are currently reading and those you have read in the past.

Furthermore, the Notion community is quite active and can help you with problems you encounter when using it.

3. Evernote

Evernote's greatest strength is its reliability. The concept of digital notes was first introduced by Evernote, and while the limelight was quickly taken by the next generation, Evernote remains one of the building blocks of second brain technology today, and although some features are outdated, the cloud sync feature and reliability are still commendable.

My second reason for using Evernote is its extremely accurate optical character recognition (OCR), which makes it a great tool for storing important documents or receipts. OCR means Evernote can search actual text in a PDF or JPEG, not just the text written in the program like Notion or Obsidian. I use Evernote to store home documents, receipts that I don't want to lose, or manuals I need to retrieve from storage, which is exactly what I do.

You can use standalone apps that perform excellent ocr as an alternative to Evernote's ocr functionality.

Evernote does the best job of combining OCR functionality with digital notes.

One of Evernote's main issues is that its structure is too fixed, and it is hard to customize to each individual's needs. Notes are stored in stackable notebooks in Evernote.
Notebook storage is appropriately named "notes" and can be organized using /#tags. Although Evernote has a hierarchical structure, you cannot manipulate notes as easily as you can in Obsidian. On the other hand, Notion and Obsidian are more flexible.

In Evernote, free users are restricted in the number of login devices and the total size of notebooks.

4. Roam Research

Although I am not a roam research user, people often compare Roam Research with Obsidian, which makes it a great choice as a digital note-taking tool for building a second brain.

Its advantage is that it allows bi-directional links and can be used to track the knowledge graph of connections between notes. Markdown and /slash commands are supported, along with image, video and multimedia embedding.

Roam Research is very good at two things. It lets you create bidirectional links between notes. Also, based on the concept of graph databases, it visualizes connections between notes as knowledge graphs. It seems to be working so far.

Roam's user experience, on the other hand, is not as clear as we would expect from one of the best second brain applications. There is a learning curve and little guidance, so you are mostly relying on guesswork and community support.

Since it charges individual users and doesn't have a mobile version as of April 2022, it ranks a bit lower on this list. If you're willing to pay for your e-notes, it isn't a big deal.