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Niklas Luhmann

Related: Zettelkasten

The Zettelkasten method was made famous by Niklas Luhmann, who was a German sociologist who published over 70 books and 400 academic articles (Ahrens, 2017, pp.30). Luhmann credited his achievements to his Zettelkasten, which contained over 90,000 ideas that helped him develop topics by knitting together ideas into a cohesive whole. His books wrote themselves, idea by idea. Even after his death, Luhmann’s ideas were combined to publish more books on his behalf.

The word Zettelkasten is German for “slip box”, which refers to a box containing many slips of paper (Ahrens, 2017). Each slip represents a single, atomic idea that makes sense by itself, and also in combination with other ideas (similar to how our brain works, but with a better memory).


The Zettelkasten Method: Examples to help you get started.