Sönke Ahrens

Sönke Ahrens is a social scientist, systemic coach and author of the bestselling book «How to Take Smart Notes». A central question of his work concerns the practical implications of our everyday beliefs and how technology can facilitate good thinking. He is currently preparing a course on note-taking with Obsidian and Roam Research. Up until recently he taught philosophy of education at the Universities of Hamburg, Fribourg, the Federal Armed Forces in Munich and others.


About the talks

March 8, 9:00 – 12:30

How to Take and Organize Smart Notes (Workshop)

In this workshop, Sönke presents the personal knowledge management system known as «Zettelkasten». It is a system that works particularly well for life-long learners and independent researchers with little regard for disciplinary boundaries. Originally developed as an analogue pen & paper note-taking system by the extremely prolific German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, a variety of digital implementations are currently being discussed. He will give a short introduction into the basic ideas of the system and present a simple setup with the app «Obsidian».

After a discussion, we should have enough time to create the first building blocks of a personal «Zettelkasten».

March 9, 11:15 – 12:00

Putting Context into Context: Navigating a World of Information (Keynote)

Context matters. Even context can be put into context. But what is the ultimate context? I suggest that there is no «ultimate context», but rather a set of basic assumptions, mental models, and ideas about the world that help us making sense of the information we try to navigate.

The talk is an enquiry into the question of how assumptions we might not even be aware of might have some pretty practical implications, not least on how we approach the challenges of information architecture.

Get the full program