How to Quickly Extract the Best Insights from a Huge Topic | Scott H Young - Deepstash

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How to Quickly Extract the Best Insights from a Huge Topic | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/06/28/unbounded-learning/

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How to Quickly Extract the Best Insights from a Huge Topic | Scott H Young
How do you learn when anything can be on life's test? The sequence you start with can determine your destination if you're not careful!

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There are Two Strategies for Learning Something

There are Two Strategies for Learning Something
  • Depth-first. This is where we pick one area and drill down.
  • Breadth-first works by first exploring your surroundings. If that doesn't work, pick one direction and fan out again.

If the area you're exploring is bounded or set out, like a syllabus, both strategies will work. If learning is without bounds, going in-depth first may lead you on a long detour. Choose poorly, and you can get stuck on an unwanted path.

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How to Explore a New Topic Efficiently

When learning any new topic efficiently, we need to learn the most useful, basic and broadly applicable ideas first.

After that, we can move onto the obscure, advanced or specialized.

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Academic Research: Follow the Citations

The learning space for an academic subject is composed of papers, books, and courses, linked via citations.

  • Start with a course or textbook. It will provide an easy entry-point.
  • For more specific topics, use literature reviews and meta-analyses, as they combine different studies.
  • Follow citation trails, focusing on papers that surface repeatedly.

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Language Learning: Usage and Frequency

  • Master a few basic phrases using any source to give you something to play around with.
  • Use the language in the setting you care about, or substitute real conversations with mock discussions using a dictionary.
  • Pay attention to any words that come up. Make flashcards to memorize words that you will use in a real situation.
  • Supplement with frequency lists - lists that contain small grammatical words as well as knowing the translation to the most common 1000 English words will enable you to hold engaging conversations.

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Practical Skills: Projects Help Prioritize

A project can help guide you if you're learning to do or make something.

  • Pick something you'd like to make.
  • Learn anything you need to build it. This will help you with a rough understanding and is not intended for mastery.
  • Put topics that come up on a "To-Learn" list.
  • Learn your list. Pick an item, and set aside a specified time to dig deeper.

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Motivation as change

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