The Polymath Project? or... just "My Brain"
My goals with this project is the following:
- Track what I have read and learnt.
- Be able to look back at my notes and remember what I learnt
- Help anyone who follows my notes to learn what I've learnt
- Leverage the power of compound interest when it comes to knowledge accumulation
- Expose my knowledge to critique so I may improve it further
I'm a person that likes to learn new things. Not everything, but things that pique my interest. In a way, if at all possible, I'd like to become a polymath of sorts.
I like the idea of Linus Lee's "Build tools around workflows, not workflows around tools". Linus built his own tools that he maintains and deploys himself. He uses them for organizing his life. To name a few:
- backing up data
- managing his public availability calendar
- digital post-its
- mailing list management
- personal CRM for remembering people & their interests
- long-term note taking
- daily todos tracking
The reason he built these tools himself is his belief that our minds work differently. There is no single workflow that will suit everyone. Hence, the tools out there that try to cater to everyone wouldn't necessarily fit us. They're built for the crowd.
Here's Linus's proposition. If he builds his tools himself, they would certainly conform to his workflows. And through that, his tools could be an extension of how he thinks and organizes information. Whilst they're not perfect, he takes an approach where he's able to continuously iterate on it over a long period of time.
What?? Are you crazy?
Stephen Wolfram built a programming language and operating system. He uses both of them extensively to improve his own life. More precisely, he stated "[personal analytics] can give us a whole new dimension to experiencing our lives". The extent to which he did this includes tracking:
- the emails he has sent and received
- the number of keystrokes he has made
- the events he has attended
- phone calls he has made or taken
- physical movement dating back to the 1980s
Am I crazy to think of doing something similar? Maybe I am. But in view of the relatively long lives we live today, I'd say it's worth it.