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The Explosion of 2nd Brain Apps


Recently I wrote about Growing My Second Brain and the Publication of Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain. Then last time I talked about BrainTool which I am using as a partner app to my Second Brain, in my case to organise my everyday bookmarks as well as the bookmarks that are saved for a specific purpose, in other words as a TO-Do item.

Bringing things into the Brain

Since the publication of the book (I have been reading his blog posts and been aware of the system since long before this) I have become aware of an increase in tool to either create a second brain or to help support it. I thought I would mention a couple I am currently using, even if they overlap.


Matter is a reader tool, similar to Instapaper and Pocket. It is only for IOS and not Android at this stage (but I believe it will come to Android in the future). They also have a browser app that lets you add an article while browsing or read anything from your queue on a larger monitor. As expected, you can tag items and add highlights. The app is beautiful to use and there is an Obsidian plugin that lets you import your highlights straight into your 2nd Brain.

I came to Matter because as a new app, it is free.  I am sure with time, some features will become premium, and believe me they deserve to be. As someone who lives on a limited budget due to my chronic illness. It will then be a cost juggling game.


Glasp is very new to me, I am talking about a tool I have had for less than two weeks. It is not actually an app, but a browser extension. It is an intriguing concept, of knowledge influencing.


At the basic level, you can highlight your article. Although it is considerably better as you have a choice of four highlight colours. After reading (and highlighting) this article about working with highlighters, I discovered the benefits of having more than one highlight colour.  My scheme is: Yellow: Standard highlights, insights you gained.  Blue: Facts or Terminology. Red: Statements I disagree with, and Green: The main takeaway point/s.  

Shared Knowledge

As well as your own highlights page, you can select up to ten topics of interest and discover articles other people have been highlighting on the same subject. If there is somebody who regularly shares things that fit in with your areas of interest, you can follow them directly to see all their highlights. Of course, you can share your highlights straight to social media, or if you use it, your Readwise Account. Most importantly for me your highlights, with the key metadata paste easily into my Obsidian Vault.

A growing Industry

I think it is safe to say that knowledge applications are a growing industry. We all have our own quirks and ways of doing things. Also, fans of knowledge management are often tech and app fans and can easily be tempted to try something new.

Find your Tools

I am trying to not app switch if I can help it at the moment. The grass is always greener but to fully understand a tool, I believe will make you more productive.

Growing BrainTool

For instance, until I found BrainTool I was using Raindrop. I still think it is a beautiful tool, and I like the fact it is cross-platform. But the concept behind Brain Tool speaks to me. So other that some quick access bookmarks on the free tier, I am moving away from it to focus on ensuring BrainTool is as organised as I need it to be, and hopefully encouraging it to become a bit prettier 😃.

Matter or Glasp

If these two tools came together, it would be my perfect system. Well, basically, bringing in the three extra colour highlighters to Matter and being able to follow specific subjects rather than authors. I write about a selection of subjects, and I imagine the readership to all of them will be miniscule. Although, I know many bloggers/authors write about one subject in depth. My niche is broad, everything that is involved in my living with Fibromyalgia.

So, I can’t answer the question yet re: whether I will stay with either Matter or Glasp. Perhaps I will collect things into Matter and process them with Glasp. I don’t know, and it irks me. I want to streamline, and I have no clear direction. Furthermore, I have found recently I have struggled with some decision-making. I don’t think I can blame this on Fibro Fog, it is far more to do with perfectionism which, along with hyper-fixation, seem to come under the umbrella of ADHD. Not a condition I have been diagnosed with, but read quite a lot about the condition in adult females.        

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