I’ve been deeply interested in personal knowledge management for almost 10 years now.

V1 of my interest was a private wiki I created in college to help organize the notes I started taking from non-fiction books I was reading.

V2 was a sort of hacky combination of Evernote and Google Docs. It worked fine, but there was no structure, and it just got me out of the very janky wiki setup.

V3 happened when I discovered Tiago Forte, and implemented his Second Brain ideas into my Evernote setup.

V3 was special. It was the first time a digital architecture changed how I consumed information. When I look back on my kindle highlights pre-BASB, they’re dramatically different from my book highlights now. I now read with a mind towards synthesis and distillation, where the idea of reading something without taking notes from it seems absurd.

But there were still some frustrations with V3. Then Adam Keesling turned me on to Roam. Roam is V4.


I don’t work for Roam, I’m not paid by Roam, and I get nothing for writing this 3,000 word post about it. I just really like it and want more people to use it so they make money and keep growing.

Here’s the TOC:

Also, I've begun work on an extremely in-depth course to using Roam for learning and creative output. You can get early beta access for a discount here.

And if you prefer a video overview, you might enjoy my intro on "What's So Great About Roam?"

Roam retains the core benefits of many other note taking tools, strips away their bloat, streamlines many inefficiencies, and adds a few unexpected additional benefits.

There are three big differences between Roam and other note-taking tools. Let’s start with siloed vs. fluid information structure.

Siloed vs. Fluid Information Structure

In Evernote, Notion, and most note taking tools, your information lives in a hierarchy.

Evernote’s is based on three levels: Stacks, Notebooks, and notes. Each note lives in one notebook, which lives in one stack.

Notion, Workflowy, and a few others allow infinite nesting. A note lives in a note lives in a note and so on.

In Roam, notes live nowhere and everywhere. Here’s the Graph View of my Roam database right now:


Each note has relationships to other notes, but no note lives inside another note or notebook. All of the information is fluid in the sense that you flow between notes based on their relationships, not because they’re all in the same folder or hierarchy.