I have no idea how you got to this page.
Maybe a friend told you about this crazy underground movement that has emerged around analog knowledge systems.
Maybe you got here by stumbling upon one of my popular YouTube videos.
Or, perhaps you ended up here by pure dumb luck.
It makes no difference, and here's why:
If you are someone who loves learning, research, or writing, then you have arrived at the most important website you will visit all year. Seriously!
Before I explain why, please allow me to introduce how it came to be…
Several years ago, I was a burnt-out depressed 35-year-old entrepreneur. I had just quit a cryptocurrency venture I co-founded and found myself single and alone (aside from my two cats, Brodus Maximus and Mr. Bigglesworth).
I was trying my hardest to connect my readings across the fields of psychology, philosophy, and marketing into a book.
I found myself really struggling to manage my knowledge between the same concepts that would emerge across different disciplinary fields. I wanted a system that would interweave my thoughts into one interconnected narrative so that I could write a book about it (without it being painful and taking a decade).
But honestly, here was the main problem: I had tried every tool out there for organizing my research (tools like Zotero, Scrivener, Notion, LogSeq, Roam Research, and Obsidian). Yet with digital tools, I ended up with an even bigger mess than just using pen and paper tools (like Moleskine notebooks and notecards).
However, even with pen and paper knowledge tools, it's almost impossible to search through, find and connect your thoughts.
Being that I couldn't find a good knowledge management system, I was faced with just giving up on the idea of connecting shared concepts I was spotting across the different disciplinary fields I was reading.
While this was unfortunate, it went even deeper than that. You see, it really meant giving up on the idea of writing a book that I felt called to write, and instead going back and doing work that I wasn't passionate about.
At that very moment, some divine force from the universe intervened. I began reading a book called How to Take Smart Notes, and I stumbled across a notebox system of a (now deceased) sociologist named Niklas Luhmann. This man, who the scholar Johannes Schmidt calls "the most important sociologist of the twentieth century," ended up writing 70 books and 600 peer-reviewed articles across many disciplinary fields. What's crazy is that Luhmann did this in only thirty years, and it seemed like his writing process was enjoyable!
Luhmann's system revolves around the idea that connecting ideas and writing prolifically comes from implementing a knowledge system called a Zettelkasten (German for slip box or notebox).
However, what I discovered was something just as critical, and it's something that even the author of How to Take Smart Notes seems to have overlooked: the power of using analog tools for thinking (instead of digital tools).
After my very brief exposure to Luhmann's Zettelkasten, it became crystal clear to me how to find and connect ideas using notecards (which was previously very difficult to do).
It seemed to make sense how Luhmann could write a fantastic book that connects concepts across many disciplinary fields (without experiencing the pain of writer's block or having books take decades to write). In fact, the knowledge using Luhmann's system can be combined to produce many more books over decades!
At this time, I grew excited and decided to devise a master plan. It started with building out my own analog Zettelkasten so that I could test if it's as powerful as the hype leads one to believe.
I decided to do this by reverse-engineering Luhmann's own Zettelkasten (thankfully, his notes have been digitized by the university he worked at). I did this by translating many of Luhmann's own handwritten notes from German to English and then writing out each note by hand. It took several months, but at least this way I could see how Luhmann's Zettelkasten really worked.
I then used these lessons and began applying them to my own research. I read several books spanning psychology, marketing, mythology and theology.
After that, I began using the notecards I created (which followed Luhmann's specific format), and I began writing daily essays. It made writing fast, fun, and effective. Plus, I was building richly-packed material that could be combined and used in other works for decades to come.
Building on this experience, I decided to publish YouTube videos and write a book about this powerful analog knowledge system. This way, others wouldn't have to learn what I had to learn the hard way (by reading misleading online articles, or several books that get it wrong, or even having to write out by hand the cards in Luhmann's own Zettelkasten).
Because of the misconceptions out there about Zettelkasten, I decided to refer to this system as the "Antinet" (i.e., the Antinet Zettelkasten).
I call it this because it contains an acronym ("ANTI"), which maps onto the four principles (or "requirements") Luhmann outlined when describing the system.
These four principles (which are outlined in the eBook Getting Started with an Antinet Zettelkasten), are critical for building an effective analog Zettelkasten (one that becomes a 'second mind' with which you can communicate with).
With the Antinet Zettelkasten, I can now ingest books rapidly across many disciplinary fields, and all I need is a pen, notecards and my brain!
I can later find these notes very easily and then connect these ideas seamlessly. This makes it incredibly easy to write deep books without experiencing the pains of writer's block.
In six months of research, and three months of writing, I wrote the first draft of my book Antinet Zettelkasten (which came out to 190,000 words and over 500+ pages of deeply-footnoted, well-researched material).
The free eBook on this page serves as a beginner's guide to building your own Antinet Zettelkasten. This system is very robust, and possesses an even deeper history (which my upcoming 500+ page book outlines in explicit detail). Until that's released, I hope you enjoy this free guide.
Your crazy compadre,