Many of us want to learn a new skill or master a new area of expertise, either to further or change our career or simply for the sake of personal fulfillment. But going deep in a subject seems like it would take a long time, and even require going back to school, something most of us don’t have the time, money, and desire to do.
My guest today says there’s another way. His name is Scott Young and he’s the author of Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career. We begin our conversation with Scott’s successful experiment of doing all the course work for a computer science degree from MIT in less than a year and for free and how this opened Scott up to the idea of “ultralearning.” We then discuss the economic benefits of learning how to learn, as well as the personal benefits that come from mastering new skills as adults. In the second half of our conversation, we get into the practical techniques of the ultralearning method, including creating a plan for your learning project, choosing active over passive learning, and drilling effectively. Scott and I end our discussion with how to figure out what feedback to listen to and what to ignore as you’re learning a new project.
- The MIT challenge Scott set for himself
- The unconventional ways people have taught themselves impressive skills
- Why the ability to learn things is such an important skill
- What is skill polarization?
- The non-economic benefits of learning how to learn quickly
- How do you take on big learning projects with the constraints of time, family, money, etc.?
- What is meta-learning?
- The expert interview method
- Why having a specific project in mind helps you along your learning pathway
- Direct learning vs passive learning
- How to make drilling more effective and more efficient
- The value of testing yourself (even before you’ve really learned anything)
- How an ultralearner handles critical feedback
- What sort of project should you start with?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- Learning How to Learn
- How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner
- Become a More Competent Human Through Micromastery
- Fluent in 3 months
- Faster and Cheaper Alternatives to College
- The Science of Self-Motivation and Productivity
- Become a Self-Starter
- How to Learn Another Language
- The Value of Deep Work in the Age of Distraction
- Desirable difficulty
Connect With Scott
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