Niklas Luhmann

A sociologist famed for his prolific output–he wrote 70 books and 400 scholarly articles on a wide range of topics. He came up with the Zettelkasten system as a “second brain” to work through connections of ideas.

An essay from Niklas Luhmann about learning to read and how there are different kinds of books that require different approaches.

An analog note taking system that emphasizes connections between atomic ideas. First introduced by Niklas Luhmann.

I’ve noticed that discussions on Zettelkasten forums and comment threads in HackerNews when a new Zettelkasten-like tool is shared are overly fixated on the tools and correctness of the process. Because there is an original source implementation (Niklas Luhmann), people judge the ‘purity’ of an implementation rather than focusing on the activity itself. This makes some intuitive sense, it’s hard to judge the effectiveness of a tool because note taking has compounding effects and most compounding benefits occur at the end so instead people judge in a more near-term way.