Building a Second Brain With Obsidian

Lately my YouTube feed has been flooded with Tiago Forte and his book, Building a Second Brain, which I might get soon but I haven’t read yet.*

I’ve been interested in the idea of creating a knowledge base for a long time but I never found quite what I was looking for in terms of software. I really wanted a non-hierarchical system like MediaWiki, but with a more easily maintainable storage mechanism than a relational database. I also wanted something self-hosted and open source. Unfortunately these desires are largely incompatible.

This week, after watching some more YouTube videos on the topic, I decided to compromise and give either Obsidian or Notion a try. I ended up with Obsidian because it runs locally, stores in markdown files, and is free to start. I haven’t spent too much time with the system yet but it seems promising. I especially like that it has MediaWiki-like page linking.


Incidentally I’ve gotten pretty tired of YouTube just thrusting topics at me. I’ve done a few of things to try to combat this.

First, I found that I can change the default app screen on my phone. On Android a long press on the YouTube app pulls up a list of start screens. You can drag one of those to your home screen in place of the default app icon. Now when I launch the app I get my subscriptions page.

Second, I gave in and finally signed up for Premium. Ads on YouTube are getting pretty ridiculous. I can afford to pay. So I will. I do hope that YouTube cuts ads back to some middle ground though.

Finally, I added a 20 minute app timer to YouTube on my phone. This suspends the app for the day after the limit is reached. This is pretty aggressive but it has really helped curtail my doom scrolling.


I’m kind of between titles right now. My friends and I have played some sessions of Battlefield V. I requested it specifically because I can play it while braindead and still have a decent time.

I’m still enjoying Destiny 2, but I don’t have any big goals in the game right now until the next expansion. So I haven’t bee playing too much.

I fired up Quake Champions briefly and my aim has really deteriorated. Still love arena shooters though.


My girlfriend and I finished The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. This was the second time I read it and it was maybe even better this time!

It’s crazy how many institutions Franklin was involved in founding. The book really reads like an isekai light novel. He helped establish a library, schools, a hospital, a police force, a fire department, a standing military, electricity, a paper currency, an ethical code for journalism, and a bunch of other stuff.

Even the writing style is similar to some of the light novel translations I’ve read recently. There’s a focus on commerce that is similar of Spice and Wolf and Reborn as a Vending Machine.

The Journey Continues

A difficult summer is coming to a close. My soccer team is struggling and stumbling its way to the end of the season and so am I. Maybe giving this second brain concept a try will help me in the weeks and months to come. I hope you’re finding your own way to survive. Until next time

Stay chill and enjoy

*I’m not fully convinced that this isn’t some kind of scam or something. Even as I read more of the genre, I’m somewhat skeptical of self-help books as a concept. I plan to continue to read open to new ideas but with caution.