Ultralearner Scott Young on how to dramatically improve the way you learn

My guest today is Scott Young. Scott is a writer who undertakes interesting self-education projects, such as attempting to learn MIT’s four-year computer science curriculum in twelve months and learning four languages in one year. Both of which he did successfully.

Scott is a fascinating person who has basically dedicated his adult life to hacking learning and challenging a lot of the assumptions and beliefs that are held about how best to learn something. Scott is a science nerd like me and one of the many things I loved about Ultralearning is that it pairs a lot of scientific research with some fascinating real world case studies of ultralearners.

If you have ever wanted to get better at learning something, or if perhaps at this point in your life you are looking at getting better at a new skill or maybe taking up a new project or hobby, I think you will find my chat with Scott incredibly helpful. We unpack quite a few different learning strategies that Scott has applied in his own life, and which after reading Ultralearning, I’ve now been applying to my own life.

We cover:
  • Why Scott spends time learning skills that he has already mastered
  • Why retrieval is a critical skill for learning, and how to get better at it
  • Scott’s approach to reading non-fiction books to optimise learning
  • The importance of “directness” when it comes to learning a new skill
  • The big problem with many training programs
  • The best way to start a learning project
  • How Scott mastered portrait drawing
  • The importance of creating procedural memories and how to do this
  • How Scott has improved his ability to stay focused
  • Why focus comes down to managing emotions and developing good habits
  • Scott’s tips to push through difficult tasks when you just want to give up
  • The keys to giving effective feedback – and why most people who ask for feedback don’t actually want it
  • How to solicit useful feedback
  • How Scott decides which feedback to take on and which to ignore

Find out more about Scott right here, and grab a copy of Ultralearning here.