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Information Overload is a Fake Problem | Scott H Young

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.

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Information Overload is a Fake Problem | Scott H Young

Information Overload is a Fake Problem | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/01/27/info-overload-fake/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

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 ever-increasing data. And most things aren’t worth reading.

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 slowing down.

Quantum mechanics is over a hundred years old. DNA is forty years old. Artificial intelligence came about when the first universal computer was invented.

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 the concept of information overload.

For every good idea, there are many different ways of expressing it. Different expressions of ideas are useful, but can also be unnecessary.

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 understanding an idea, all the different perspectives are beneficial.

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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.

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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Learning comes from doing

Learning comes from doing

Most people have a faulty idea about when they have actually learned something.

Learning doesn't come from reading or listening. Reading creates ideas and opportunities. You only le...

Personal development books

Reading personal development books and articles is extremely valuable. The only problem is when you confuse this with real learning. 

Reading a book on exercise doesn't make you fit. Reading an article on time management doesn't make you productive.

Turning Ideas into Learning

We can increase our learning when we understand that reading is like a seed - the ideas you read about have the power to create incredible learning and understanding, but only if you act on it.

Pick a few ideas that you think have the potential to benefit your life most. Then allocate time, energy and resources to practice those ideas.

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