EMAIL NUMBER 31
Channel Your Inner Don Quixote!
Scott P. Scheper
Downtown San Diego, CA
Thursday 11:45 a.m.
I would be remiss if I did not start by thanking all of you who have responded to my last few emails. You provided valuable feedback for the program I'm cooking up.
I also appreciated the kind words with regards to the so-called personal stories I've shared. I say "so-called personal stories" because I don't really see my "personal stuff" as "personal." I think its inauthentic to keep your personal life completely compartmentalized and silo'd off from the community of people you serve.
In sharing my stories, you can hopefully tell that I strive to shoot straight with you. No bullcrap, and no political-speak will come from the mouth Mr. Scott P. Scheper!
Anyway, we have a lot of newbies who have recently joined this community. I think now is a good time to summarize things for anyone new. I also think a summarization will be useful for the rest of you who have been with me for a while.
The journey we're on is simple: We're resurrecting the practice of Analog Knowledge Development (AKD). This revolves around developing knowledge the old way—using just pen, paper, and your brain. The old way is still the best way.
Our tool of choice is the Antinet. This is the specially-architected notebox that subscribes to the principles used by the most prolific sociologist of the 20th century (Niklas Luhmann).
Luhmann used his Antinet to produce 70 books and 600 academic papers in a thirty-year span. This comes out to two books published per year, and two academic papers published per month. That output is insane.
But the quantity of output isn't all that valuable if all you produce is trash. In Luhmann's case, the quality of his work was anything but trash.
Luhmann's work was deeply-intertwined, and brilliantly thought-through. It was dense, and it was confusing in parts; yet, this stems from Luhmann's preferred style of being almost trollish in the insights he laid forth. It also stems from the German academic climate of his time. The more mind-bending your prose was, the more academic "street-cred" you garnered from peers.
Anyway, what I'm getting at is the Antinet is a very powerful knowledge development system.
I have experienced its power first hand. In six months of research, and three months of writing, it produced 190,000 words of deeply-packed, footnoted content for my forthcoming book, The Antinet Zettelkasten.
While the Antinet stands as the ultimate knowledge tool, it's not necessarily the end-goal we're aiming for.
The Antinet is the means to the end.
The Antinet is the airplane that will take us to our dream destination.
And what is our dream destination, you ask?
It is this: It's the land wherein you spend your days developing and sharpening your mind. It's the land wherein you get in touch with that deep internal voice. The one you get in touch with when you read quietly, think deeply, and develop your thoughts with just pen and paper. It's the land wherein you produce prolific output (books, essays, content, dissertations)—without experiencing writer's block. It's the land wherein you build a community of like-minded people who you learn from. And it's the land wherein you make a comfortable living doing all of this!
I call this land, "the neo-intellectual life."
You see, the best work happens when you unplug—when you're in "deep intellectual work mode."
When I was looking for a system to help me develop a book across multiple disciplines (marketing, psychology, and philosophy), there was no tool like the Antinet.
The idea of analog knowledge development was consigned to inferior tools. Things like bullet journals, commonplace notebooks, and notebox systems organized by subject category.
Inevitably, one runs into walls with such tools.
One is forced to turn to digital solutions. Evernote, Notion, Trello, Excel, Plaintext, Microsoft Word, Pages, Scrivener, etc.
If one ventures deep enough, they may stumble across the world of "PKM." This world is dominated by the concept of linking notes. New note-linking apps emerge every month promising some new, unexplainably vague benefit. There was Roam Research, then Obsidian, then Logseq, and by the time you read this, there's probably a new fan-favorite.
These tools are then overhyped by Bubble Graph Boyz on YouTube who get emotional just thinking about their notes.
Listen up, pay attention: You're not here to become a professional notetaker. You're here because you want to become a learning machine, a content machine, a research machine, and a writing machine. Period.
If you want to fart around all day tweaking your notetaking app's CSS styles, you're in the wrong place.
A year ago, if you desired to link together ideas across many books, you were faced with the type of environment I've described above. You were left with either commonplace notebooks, disorganized notecards, or digital notetaking apps (which promise much, and deliver little).
Nobody—and I mean nobody—was teaching how to build out a Niklas Luhmann style Zettelkasten (an Antinet).
If you wanted to do such, you had to be a crazy person (like me). You had to spend endless hours pouring over Niklas Luhmann's digitized note archive. You had to read Luhmann's dense paper describing the system. You had to read academic research papers explaining how it worked. And after all that, there's a good chance you'd still get it wrong!
Thankfully today, you no longer have to do this. The YouTube community, and the Antinet Reddit Community we've built, serve as a great resource for all those who desire an alternative. People now have an alternative to digital note-linking apps that make people major in the minor!
Here's the truth: If I didn't get so much positive support when I released my first Antinet video, there's a good chance I'd have stopped long ago. I'd still be using my Antinet, of course, but I probably would have stopped creating so much content about it.
Heck, if it weren't for your positive support, I may have moved onto other things. This is why it's so important to build a movement, and why it's so important to build a community around your intellectual work.
In other words, thank you for being a part of this journey!
Now, back to the point: The Antinet is not the destination. It's the airplane that gets us to the destination.
The destination is the "neo-intellectual life." It's the lifestyle wherein you spend your days reading, thinking, and creating knowledge. This knowledge will then be used to create genius-level work in your field (be that a book, a PhD dissertation, or content that helps you grow an audience). The bottom line is that we're aiming for creative output. Not just any creative output, but brilliant creative output.
The goal is for you to produce work that is worth consuming and reading in the first place!
Even if you find yourself shying away from the idea of using the Antinet to create output, believe me, there's a brilliant idea locked away inside you–no matter what stage you're at in life.
Even if you're only interested in becoming a learning machine, the knowledge you create using your Antinet will become useful for you once you make a phase transition into creative output phase.
Anyway, I'm droning on, but I think you get the point.
We're building an analog knowledge revolution.
Now, before I close-out this email, I want to tell you about what happened on Twitter yesterday.
If you know me, then you know by now that when I say, "we're building an analog knowledge revolution," I don't mean a violent revolution.
I'm being facetious and having fun when I say we're building a revolution. I like to stir things up and have fun.
So yesterday on Twitter, I tweeted something along the lines of PKM being dead and how AKD is the future (Analog Knowledge Development).
This whole notion seemed to ruffle the feathers of a seemingly earnest individual. He responded to me saying I'm "like Don Quixote riding Rocinante, fighting windmills!"
I didn't take offense to this, and indeed, I found it quite amusing!
What he's talking about is the dichotomy of self-awareness vs. self-delusion.
You see, we all need a healthy dosage of both self-awareness and self-delusion in life.
Self-delusion serves as the precursor for self-belief.
If there's any group of people who need a healthy injection of self-belief it's people like us—intellectuals! People who are committed to growth, thinking, and learning.
Those who are most capable of creating valuable knowledge for the world, are also the ones who view themselves as most incapable! This is called imposter syndrome.
In essence, one must delude themselves into having the confidence to fight for what they believe in. One must march forward with a seemingly crazy idea, and pursue it with vigor.
Don Quixote, as crazy as he was (self-deluding himself into being a knight and charging at windmills he thought were giants), was actually spot on about something: he took action, and he learned.
In brief, I say embrace your inner Don Quixote. Embrace self-delusion, and use it as a vehicle to have fun with your pursuits.
Of course, you'll want to balance this self-delusion with wisdom and self-awareness.
But do not be of the mind that you must shy away from playful self-delusion (it's an important precursor for self-belief, and it helps you build a movement).
Why am I telling you this?
Because building a movement, and building an audience of like-minded people around your work is something I'm pretty good at.
It's also something I intend to teach you how to do.
Imagine if you spent a year building and developing something only to release it to the sound of crickets.
Even if you're an academic, and your only goal is to complete your PhD dissertation, you'll still gain value from learning how to build a movement. A movement of like-minded people who support your work. Learning how to do this rests at the center of building the neo-intellectual life.
This gives you a hint of what I'm working on.
About half of my time is spent editing my book.
The other half of my time is spent developing a program to help my people get the results they really want.
You don't just want to build an Antinet. You want to become a knowledge machine (which encompasses becoming a learning machine, a research machine, and a writing machine).
As a result of becoming a knowledge machine, you want to learn how to create a movement around what you believe in. You want to build a community of like-minded people who support your work. And you also want to have the option of creating amazing value for this community (so that you can make a comfortable living). Even if you have a full-time job, this is something that would be nice to have, right?
Anyway, that's what I'm building, and that's what we're building, together.
This Friday and Saturday, I'll be conducting my first 1-on-1 bootcamp with a fellow Antinetter. We'll be diving deep into the world of analog knowledge development. We'll be specifically focusing on becoming an academic publishing machine.
This may be the last bootcamp I offer ever, or at least for a while. In the future, I'm leaning towards offering a 3-month 1-on-1 coaching program with a group course attached. The goal will be to teach you how to become a knowledge machine, and build the intellectual life. Your feedback from my last email helped me realize this is what you really want!
Anyway, stay tuned!
Oh, and one more thing: As a reward for reading this long email, I would like to give you something of value.
Here is a link to a chapter I finished editing yesterday. It's about Knowledge Development. I'll be sharing it with you here via email and nowhere else (not even on my website, which contains an archive of my past emails).
Here's the link where you can download and read the PDF:
Sorry, link is for email subscribers only
I hope you enjoy it and gain value from reading it!
My only request is this: If you enjoy the chapter, please reply to this email and tell me which part you liked best.
Your bumbling bastard friend,
The analog knowledge revolutionary, himself,
Scott P. Scheper
"The King of Long Emails"
P.S. Stay crispy, my friend.
P.P.S. I contemplated deleting this email multiple times and starting over. In reading it now, I don't think it's that bad. Heck, maybe you even found it useful. Damn imposter syndrome is making me feel like I suck!
Thursday 4:46 p.m.