Information Overload is a Fake Problem | Scott H Young

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Information Overload is a Fake Problem | Scott H Young
The internet reachable by Google has over a million terabytes of data. Every minute 300 hours of new video is added to YouTube. In the time it took to read this sentence, at least 10,000 new tweets have appeared on Twitter. We're drowning in information, so it's only natural to feel overwhelmed.


Key Ideas

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Information overload

Information overload

We're drowning in information, yet the explosion of data hasn’t changed much about how we need to stay informed. 

The amount of original ideas worth learning is much smaller than the eve...


Limited Good Ideas

Limited Good Ideas

If knowledge is growing exponentially, most of the ideas should have been discovered in the last few decades. Yet most ideas are old. The rate of genuinely good new ideas may be s...


Why the Internet is So Big

The number of good ideas worth learning is still large enough that few can manage to understand more than the general outline of most ideas in their lifetimes. Yet, this was also true before...


How We Relate to Information

Most people aren't genuinely interested in understanding and learning the essential ideas. They see information as entertainment, distraction or gossip.

If you are interested in unders...


The Important Ideas

Ideas are important because of their frequency and utility. An Idea that keeps showing up and is being referenced when you're learning something else is worth learning on its own.



Learning Slows Down with Age

Learning Slows Down with Age

Most aspects of mental processing slow down as we age. While we continue to accumulate knowledge of the world at a slower rate, we gain more experience that increases our wisdom.

Our minds tend to grow worse

Researchers disagree in their hypotheses about how our minds tend to get worse with age. What can be observed is the following:

  • Older individuals do struggle more with Stroop tasks, where an automatic habit needs to be overridden by instructions.
  • Older individuals have a harder time with multitasking.
  • Older people find it difficult to bind information that occurs in a combined context. It impacts their ability to remember life events.

However, older people seem to be better at emotional regulation.

Cognitive Reserve

Some people seem to age mostly with minds intact and others notice dramatic slowdowns. The brain appears to have a lot of redundancy built-in - known as cognitive reserve.

Education seems to have a protective effect on aging, possibly because education contributes to cognitive reserve.

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Skimmed Read

Reading is a complex process that involves the brain's visual and auditory processes, phonemic awareness, fluency and comprehension. There are billions of pages available to read online,...

Slow Is Good

The speed-reading habit is making us lose our deep attention and focus, gradually shunning denser, more complicated content. Instead of optimizing for speed, we need to optimize for comprehension, deep understanding, and retention of information.

Deep or slow reading, when the brain is attentive, absorbing, understanding and analyzing text expands our attention span and improves concentration and learning.

Better, Not Faster Reading

The brain develops stronger analytical skills and gets into critical thinking mode, forming new connections and even creates new ideas.

Deep focusing on a book is one of the best investments of your time.

Scott H Young

"People don’t judge you so much for who you are as they judge you for how you communicate yourself."

Scott H Young

Be Funny and Interesting

  • Humor: It takes a lot of practice until you can figure out the natural timing and flow of a joke. Practice makes perfect.
  • Interest comes from having an interesting life. You can be interesting by telling stories  or by simply being quick to bring up an interesting fact.

Interest is similar to humor whenever people discover something they didn’t expect.

Tell Great Stories

  • You need to have an interesting point to make it worthwhile.
  • Your most interesting point should be the last thing you say in your story.
  • Keep it short.
  • Keep it personal. People prefer stories about people they know.
  • The more you tell a story the better you get the natural timing and emphasis. 

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